Huon-class mine hunters

Huon-class mine hunters

Since the RAMSI intervention in July 2003, the RAN has deployed a Huon-class mine hunter to the Solomon Islands, under Operation Anode. Vessels include HMA Ships Hawkesbury, Diamantina, Yarra and Gascoyne.


Positive energy – Op Anode’s current flows through Solomon Islands restoring order, Capt Sarah Hawke, Army – the soldiers’ newspaper, 14 August 2003

The Air Force and Navy are also playing a role in moving equipment and personnel and is providing general maritime support to the operation…A fifth Australian naval vessel, HMAS Hawkesbury, a Mine Hunter Coastal, will soon join the force.”

Together as one, Captain Sarah Hawkes, Army – the soldiers’ newspaper, 28 August 2003

“The Fremantle class patrol boat, HMAS Whyalla, LCH HMAS Wewak and HMAS Labuan, and the Mine Hunter Coastal, HMAS Hawkesbury, have been also been busy in the logistic support role and on visits and patrols to many of the islands. HMAS Hawkesbury was involved in the rescue of six men after their 23ft powered canoe capsized and sank when travelling from Lale to Ghizo.”

Manoora in vital supply role, Lt Chris Woods, Navy News, 2003

HMAS Whyalla has handed-off to Ipswich while Hawkesbury has just been replaced by Diamantina. HMAS Hawkesbury has concentrated on the northern areas around the Shortland Islands group, while Whyalla and Ipswich visited many islands in the New Georgia region, Santa Isabel, San Cristobal and Choiseul areas.

HMAS Diamantina, Australian War Memorial (AWM) photograph

HMAS Diamantina moored at Honiara port. The ships were part of a military force intended to provide security and logistical support to the multi-national police force, sent under the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). Australia’s contribution to RAMSI was known as Operation Anode. …It was used to patrol remote areas of the islands, and its team of clearance divers helped decommission explosives and weapons. HMAS Diamantina [II], commissioned in February 2002, is a Huon class coastal mine hunter of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). It is the second ship of this name: the first HMAS Diamantina also operated in the Solomon Islands during the Second World War, bombarding Japanese positions in 1945. HMAS Diamantina is fitted with GEC-Marconi Type 2093 variable-depth sonar for mine hunting.

HMAS Diamantina, Australian War Memorial (AWM) photograph

HMAS Diamantina’s six-member team of clearance divers and explosive experts helped clear unexploded Second World War ordinance from the Solomon Islands; the ship’s duties included patrolling and visiting remote islands to provide information about RAMSI.


The third Op Anode rotation hits Honiara, Capt Andrew Bird, Army – the soldiers’ newspaper, 8 April 2004

“THE latest round of troops to reach the Solomon Islands [in early 2004] have been prepared for a complex and challenging tour as Op Anode passes the eight-month mark. The military contingent now consists of almost 720 personnel, including…. a maritime component consisting of HMAS Yarra and HMAS Wewak.”

The Royal Australian Navy and the Restoration of Stability in the Solomon Islands, Semaphore (Newsletter of the Sea Power Centre Australia), Issue 13, August 2005

Building on the Navy’s long experience of operating in the South Pacific, direct assistance to the community became the defining feature of the RAN’s involvement. In December 2003, for example, Wewak carried 90 tonnes of relief supplies to the residents of Tikopia and Anuta who were facing starvation after a cyclone. Hawkesbury, meanwhile, rescued six men whose canoe had capsized in heavy seas, while simultaneously transporting a sick child to Ghizo hospital. In a similar vein, the crews of a succession of RAN vessels helped a hospital on the island of Taro resume full services. In January 2004, HMAS Wollongong repaired the hospital’s damaged generator. Later, crew from HMA Ships Yarra and Geelong repaired and replaced all the hospital’s electrical wiring. An ability to repair damaged infrastructure was also demonstrated by HMAS Gascoyne at Falamai in the Treasury Island Group. By fixing the village tractor, the minehunter’s crew not only fostered goodwill, but also helped revive the local agricultural industry.”

See also:

Naval Task Group 635.5