KDB Darulaman returns home

National 2 minutes, 32 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

THE KDB Darulaman returned safely to the Sultanate yesterday after completing a 52-day deployment in Sydney, Australia, to participate in a maritime security exercise and international fleet review.

Family and friends gathered at the Muara Naval Base in the afternoon to welcome the arrival of the ship, eager to reunite with the 69-member crew.

Also present at the ceremony was the Commander of the Royal Brunei Navy (RBN), First Admiral Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Abd Halim Hj Mohd Hanifah.

Under the command of Major (L) Willie Padan, the KDB Darulaman covered a total distance of 9,400 nautical miles passing through rough seas on its voyage.

“It was a challenge for the junior personnel,” he said, explaining many of the crew members experienced bouts of seasickness.

However, they persevered and took the opportunity to conduct high-sea navigation training as well as ship husbandry.

The KDB Darulaman made its first pit stop at Jervis Bay to join 13 other naval vessels in the ADMM-Plus Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (MS FTX).

Jointly hosted by Australia and Malaysia, the MS FTX involved maritime interdiction operations as well as boarding exercises and Critical Contact of Interest (CCOI) tracking.

Major (L) Willie said the exercise allowed the participating navies to collaborate in overcoming maritime security challenges.

“It was also a chance for us to lay some of the groundwork in preparation for Brunei and New Zealand’s hosting of the MS FTX next year,” he added.

The KDB Darulaman, together with 42 other foreign warships, 16 tall ships and three civilian ships from 14 countries participated in the International Fleet Review (IFR), celebrating the centenary of the first entry of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet into Sydney Harbour.

During its journey back to Brunei, the ship also made a logical stop in Surayabaya, Indonesia, as part of its goodwill visit.

Major (L) Willie paid courtesy calls to the Commander of Indonesia Navy’s Eastern Fleet, Rear Admiral Agung Pramono, as well as the Second Assistant of Economics and Development as the representative to the Mayor of Surabaya.

In attendance was Brunei’s Defence Attache to Indonesia, Lieutenant Colonel Haslen Hj Hassan. While in Surabaya, the KDB Darulaman also hosted a reception before departing for the Sultanate.

Reflecting on the voyage, 24-year-old crew member Lieutenant (L) Ak Muhd Rajaie Pg Razali said the deployment was a good experience as it enabled the RBN to foster closer ties with other participating navies at the MS FTX and IFR.

Among those present to welcome the KDB Darulaman home was Sajedah Syafiah Abd Razak, whose spouse Sergeant (L) Mohd Sofian Hj Daud was on board the ship. “We’re glad to have him back. As a military wife, I am used to my husband going away on deployment for months at a time. It’s a sacrifice that he has to make in his duty to protect the nation,” she said, holding their five-year-old daughter in tow.

The KDB Darulaman is one of the three offshore patrol vessels (OPV) under the Darussalam Class that entered service in 2011.

The Brunei Times