HMAS Boonaroo

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Career
Name: United Kingdom Boonaroo
Collin Four
Reunion
Owner: Australian Shipping Board (1953–57)
Australian National Lines (1957–71)
Collin Navigation Company (1971–72)
Uni-Ocean Lines Pty Ltd (1976–77)
United Orient Lines Ltd (1977–85)
Builder: Mort's Dock and Engineering, Sydney
Completed: 1953
Fate: Scrapped in 1985
Career (Australia)
Commissioned: 1 March 1967
Decommissioned: 8 May 1967
Honours and
awards:
Battle honours:
Vietnam War 1967[1][2]
Fate: Returned to civilian service
General characteristics
Type: Auxiliary vessel
Displacement: 1,789 tons (standard)
3,542 Gross tons (full load)
Length: 391 ft (119.18 m) o/a
Beam: 53 ft (16.15 m)
Draught: 20 ft 9 in (6.32 m)
Propulsion: 2 x Doxford diesel, Type: 56LB4, developing engines, 4,250 hp
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)

HMAS Boonaroo (also known as MV Boonaroo) was an Australian National Lines cargo vessel used to support Australian forces fighting in the Vietnam War.[3] She was the first Australian ship to be commissioned after the introduction of the Australian White Ensign.[3]

Construction and civilian history[edit]

Boonaroo was constructed for Australian National Lines by Mort's Dock and Engineering in Sydney.[3] Displacing 1,789 tonnes (standard) and 3,542 tonnes at full load, Boonaroo was 391 ft (119.18 m) long, with a beam of 53 ft (16.15 m) and a draught of 20 ft 9 in (6.32 m). Powered by two Doxford diesel engines producing 4,250 hp, the ship had a top speed of 12 knots.[3]

The ship was completed in 1953, and operated as a merchant vessel until she was chartered by the Department of Shipping and Transport in 1966 to carry Australian soldiers and supplies to Vietnam.[3] She completed one voyage to Vietnam as a merchant vessel, leaving on 17 May 1966 and arriving back in Australia on 8 July 1966.[3] However, the Seamen's Union of Australia refused to crew the vessel for subsequent voyages in protest against Australia's involvement in the conflict.[3]

RAN service[edit]

To keep the ship operational, she was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on 1 March 1967, and became the first Australian ship to be commissioned under Australian White Ensign.[3] The crew was replaced by RAN personnel, and departed Port Wilson, Victoria on 10 March with a cargo of munitions for the Royal Australian Air Force and general cargo for the support and establishment of Australian forces in Vietnam, including prefabricated kitchen structures, telegraph poles, and a fuel tanker.[3]

Boonaroo arrived in Cam Ranh Bay on 28 March, and over the next five days was unloaded, leaving Vietnam waters on 3 April.[3] She arrived in Sydney on 29 April.[3] The cargo ship left Sydney for Melbourne on 3 May, arrived on 5 May, and was decommissioned from RAN service on 8 May.[3] Boonaroo was returned to Australian National Lines.[3]

Following a reorganisation of RAN battle honours in 2010, Boonaroo was retroactively awarded the honour "Vietnam 1967".[1][2]

Later career and fate[edit]

In January 1971, she was sold to Collin Navigation Co., S. A. Hong Kong, and renamed Collin Four and in 1972 transferred to a subsidiary company. The ship was sold to Uni-Ocean Lines Pty Ltd, Singapore in February 1976 and renamed Reunion and again sold in November 1977 to United Orient Lines Ltd, Singapore. She was scrapped at Chittagong, Bangladesh in November 1985.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "HMAS Boonaroo". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre – Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  4. ^ "Images, Postcards and Ephemera of Australia National Line Ships". Flotilla Australia. Retrieved 23 September 2014.