After 33 years of service and more than a million nautical miles underway, HMAS Darwin (FFG 04) was decommissioned on 9 December 2017. Despite her age, HMAS Darwin could still go up to 30 knots. Named after the capital city of the Northern Territory, HMAS Darwin is an Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate, formerly in service with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
More than 5000 men and women have served and called this ship home over the past three decades. She has operated in the Persian Gulf, as part of the INTERFET peacekeeping taskforce, deployed to the Middle East, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands. The vessel also sent to New Zealand for disaster relief following the Kaikoura earthquake.
Saying goodbye is never easy, but its formal farewell ceremony at Fleet Base East on 9 December 2017 was really amazing with lots of people viewing this ship lady for the last time. The guided missile frigate took part in a gun salute upon entry into Darwin Harbour before an Air Force flyover and was greeted by the Royal Australian Navy Band as she docked. Indigenous sailors paired traditional body paint with camouflage uniforms and combat boots as they performed a dance to the sounds of the didgeridoo on board the ship.
Waiting to get on board HMAS Darwin for the last time
After Darwin's decommissioning, two FFGs remain in service and are scheduled to be replaced by the Hobart class DDGs. There are several plans for what will happen with HMAS Darwin after being decommissioned. One of them is to be scuttled into decommissioned frigate in waters off Tasmania's east coast. This plan will capture the hearts of divers, not just in Tasmania or Australia, but all over the world.