HMAS Success decommissions after 33 years’ service to Australia

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has decommissioned the Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ship HMAS Success, at her home port of Garden Island in Sydney, in a ceremony full of tradition, after more than three decades of service.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan AO, RAN joined 23rd and final Commanding Officer of HMAS Success, Captain Darren Grogan to pay tribute to the ‘First Lady of the Fleet’, a title given to Navy’s oldest ship, and, the 5,000 men and women who served in her.

“HMAS Success has built a proud history and served Australia with distinction by contributing to many of Navy’s most important operations over the past three decades,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

“It was the hard work and dedication of the crews who called Success home that made this ship so effective over such a long career.”

Commissioned in 1986, HMAS Success had steamed almost one million nautical miles, participated in a world record 11 Rim of the Pacific) exercises, earned battle honours for service during the 1991 Gulf War and in East Timor in 1999, and helped search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

The last major vessel built at Cockatoo Island, Success won the RAN’s prestigious Duke of Gloucester’s Cup, awarded to the RAN unit displaying the highest level of overall proficiency, on three occasions; 1990, 1999 and 2014.

Assistant Defence Minister, the Hon Alex Hawke MP said lowering the ship’s Australian White Ensign for the final time closed a significant chapter in Navy’s history.

“Success will be missed. She has been such an integral part of Navy over the past 33 years that many sailors and officers will not know the fleet without her,” Minister Hawke said.

“This bittersweet feeling can be tempered by the knowledge that so many who served in Success, many of them here today, are proud of her achievements on behalf of Navy and Australia.”

HMAS Success is being decommissioned to make way for a new oil replenishment ship HMAS Supply (II), which will commence service in 2020.

A compile of archive vision of HMAS Success can be found here:

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