The Passage Exercise (PASSEX) was conducted between 'HMAS Ballarat' and the Chinese Navy frigate 'Anqing' at the mouth of the Yangtze River
The Royal Australian Navy has completed a maritime exercise with the Chinese Navy as part of a highly successful visit to the People’s Republic of China. Australia is committed to further developing strong and positive defence relations with China through dialogue and practical activities.
The exercise was part of Ballarat’s five day visit to Shanghai, where the ship helped mark 40 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and the People’s Republic of China.
The PASSEX scenario was constructed around a radio call from a stricken merchant vessel located to the East of the Yangtze Estuary. Both vessels closed the last known position at best speed and prepared to render assistance. Upon arrival, a man overboard exercise was initiated by Anqing, with Ballarat launching her Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) to conduct a search of the area. The RHIB then performed a recovery operation before returning a casualty to Anqing for further care.
As the exercise drew to an end, HMAS Ballarat’s Commanding Officer Jonathan Earley sent a signal to the Anqing:
“Our exercise today contributed significantly in deepening our mutual respect and trust of each other’s capabilities at sea and has further strengthened our bilateral relationship in many ways,” Commander Earley said.
“We look forward to conducting more maritime engagement activities with the PLA(N) in the near future.”
Ballarat is currently on a North East Asian Deployment with further bilateral exercises planned with the Republic of Korea, Japan and the United States prior to returning to Sydney in late June.