It is well known that sailors tend to become affectionate about their ships, in the same way that many aviators recall mainly the good things about their aircraft.
This is especially true when a ship is decommissioned. A decommissioning ceremony is a bit like a funeral. No one likes to speak ill of the dead.
And so the Royal Australian Navy, on decommissioning HMAS Manoora, has noted the "17 years of dedicated service" given by the assault ship.
Manoora did not give 17 years of service, dedicated or otherwise. It and its sistership, Kanimbla, then 24-year-old members of the USN's Newport Class, were commissioned into the RAN in 1994. They then spent the next six years being rebuilt and were only provisionally accepted into service in 2000. Readers may know that more recently they have been confined to harbor, non-operational because of faults.
At most, Australia got about 10 years of service out of Manoora. Maybe we should not blame the ship. It was the navy that failed, somehow, to monitor and maintain the ship's material condition.
The navy is repairing Kanimbla in view to putting it back into service next year for another two years of operation, though the possibility of decommissioning it or the heavy lift ship Tobruk was mentioned when Australia raised the idea of buying a Bay Class ship from Britain in February. Australia has since agreed to buy Largs Bay.
(Post altered on June 1, 2011, to correct "Newport News Class" to "Newport Class".)
PICTURE CREDIT: AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE