Navy sends off two of nation's warships to Middle East

HUNDREDS of Australian Navy crew members have said goodbye to loved ones for the next six months as two of the country's warships head for troubled waters.

HMAS Sydney left the dock at Sydney's Garden Island on Monday morning, a day after the HMAS Newcastle was deployed to the Middle East.

Both missions are geared at protecting sea lanes for trade and maintaining safe access to vital international waterways by deterring terrorism and piracy.

Royal Australian Navy Commander of Surface Forces Commodore Jonathan Mead told the HMAS Newcastle frigate: "You are at the top of your game and I have no doubt that you will make Australia and your families proud".

A spokesman for the HMAS Sydney thanked family and friends gathered at Garden Island for their sacrifice and said all members looked forward to their safe return.



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