The West

Jayo Stenz gets a hug from family as his girlfriend Chantelle Hislop sits on the ground beside him. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

HMAS Toowoomba is sailing to the Middle East for a six-month deployment after an emotional farewell at her home port in WA.

The Toowoomba will be part of Operation Slipper - the Australian Defence Force contribution to the war in Afghanistan - when her crew of 180 men and women arrive in the region.

The Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate will relieve HMAS Anzac, which has been in the region for six months.

The RAN’s Commander Australian Surface Forces, Commodore Jonathan Mead, wished the ship’s company a safe and successful deployment at the ceremony, attended by family members at Fleet Base West, near Perth.

“You have just enjoyed Christmas at home with your families, and have had time to reflect on what’s important to you,” he said.

“Now it’s time to focus on the task of conducting a safe and successful deployment.”

The deployment marks the 30th rotation of RAN ships in support of coalition maritime security operations in the Middle East since September 2001.

Toowoomba is scheduled to return home to Fleet Base West in June 2013.

The West Australian

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