HMAS Stuart (FFH 153) is an Anzac class frigate
of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was built at Williamstown in
Victoria, and commissioned into the RAN in 2002. The frigate is
operational as of 2014.
In April 2003, Stuart was used to capture Pong Su, a North
Korean-owned freighter involved in drug smuggling operations.
Several people were arrested ashore as part of an Australian Federal
Police operation on 16 April, but Pong Su refused police orders to
sail to the nearest port. A New South Wales Police launch attempted
to detain the ship, off Eden, New South Wales on 18 April, but was
unable to do so because of heavy seas. Stuart was deployed to board
and capture the merchantman after scrounging sailors from other
ships to make up for those on leave for the Easter weekend,
embarking a Seahwak helicopter, and taking onboard special forces
personnel from the Special Air Service Regiment and the Clearance
Diving Team. Accompanied by two police launches, Stuart
intercepted Pong Su 90 nautical miles (170 km; 100 mi) off Sydney on
20 April. The special forces successfully boarded the ship, and she
was sailed to Sydney by a RAN steaming party.
In 2004, Stuart was deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of
Operation Catalyst. On 24 April, Stuart, the patrol boat USS
Firebolt, and the cruiser USS Yorktown were patrolling around the Al
Başrah Oil Terminal (ABOT) and Khor Al Amaya Oil Terminal (KAAOT),
with Stuart's commanding officer in tactical control of the two
American warships. Around 19:00, a dhow sailed into the KAAOT
security zone. Firebolt sent a RHIB to board the dhow and order the
vessel away, but as the RHIB drew alongside, the dhow exploded.
Stuart, 4.1 nautical miles (7.6 km; 4.7 mi) away, began sailing to
assist, while the Australian ship's S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter, 6
nautical miles (11 km; 6.9 mi) away diverted to the explosion site.
The Seahawk and a RHIB from Stuart began assisting survivors from
Firebolt's boarding party; after experiencing difficulty in handling
the injured Americans, the Seahawk's sensor operator dived into the
water to assist. Casualties were brought aboard Firebolt, then
transferred by helicopter and boat to Stuart. Meanwhile, two more
dhows attempted to attack ABOT—the explosion of the first dhow was
the prelude to a coordinated attack on the oil terminal—but were
fended off by the facility's Iraqi security team and detonated
before reaching their targets. Three of the seven personnel aboard
Firebolt's RHIB were killed, and the other four were seriously
injured. The Seahawk's sensor operator was later awarded the Medal
for Gallantry for his actions during the incident.
In February 2006, fire broke out about HMNZS Te Mana, Stuart's
sister ship, during an exercise off the coast of Australia. Te
Mana's Seasprite helicopter was diverted to Stuart, while the fire
was put out by the crew.
On the morning of 13 March 2009, Stuart was one of seventeen
warships involved in a ceremonial fleet entry and fleet review in
Sydney Harbour, the largest collection of RAN ships since the
Australian Bicentenary in 1988.The frigate was one of the thirteen
ships involved in the ceremonial entry through Sydney Heads, and
anchored in the harbour for the review.
On 22 March 2011, while operating off Somalia as part of Combined
Task Force 151, Stuart machine-gunned an unmanned skiff being towed
by MV Sinar Kudus, a hijacked cargo carrier operating as a pirate
mother ship. The skiff was destroyed. This was the first time an
Australian warship had fired in anger at Somali pirates.
On 11 April 2011, Stuart interdicted the Yemeni-flagged dhow named
Al Shahar 75. A boarding party from the frigate rescued three crew
members being held hostage, while the fifteen Somali pirates, who
had surrendered as Stuart approached, were allowed to return to
their skiff and sail to shore after their weapons and equipment were
In October 2013 participated in the International Fleet Review 2013
in Sydney, Australia.