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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Tuesday 10 February   


All Australians are today encouraged to remember the 82 crew members who lost their lives in our greatest peacetime military tragedy, the sinking of HMAS Voyager II

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, said that on the night of 10 February 1964, HMAS Melbourne II, an aircraft carrier, and HMAS Voyager II, a Daring Class Destroyer, took part in night flying exercises off the coast of Jervis Bay, NSW.

During the exercises both ships had to rely on their navigational and operational lights due to poor visibility.  At 8.56pm the two ships collided; Voyager II was ripped in two.

Immediately after the disaster, members of Melbourne’s crewlaunched her life boats and attempted to recover survivors.  Once alerted to the disaster, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) sent two search and rescue boats, HMAS Air Nymph and HMAS Air Sprite from the shore establishment HMAS Creswell.  These crews rescued 70 men.  RAN helicopters and minesweepers were also dispatched to assist with the search.

The quick response saved many lives on that fateful night.  Of the 314 crew on board Voyager II, 82 lost their lives, including 14 officers, 67 sailors and one civilian dockyard employee. Fortunately, 232 survived.

During the Anzac Centenary period, we are also commemorating a Century of Service.  It is important that we remember the sacrifices of all those who have served our nation and ensure that those who lost their lives in times of war, in training exercises, peacetime accidents or disasters, are honoured.

Media inquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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