But what I found amusing is that Australia sent out three naval ships to meet the Russians. One of them, HMAS Paramatta (pictured above) contacted the biggest Russian cruiser, Varyag, to conduct a communications exercise, called a “COMMEX”, which involves testing mutual radio communications, signal flags and semaphore lights. This was apparently carried out in a friendly spirit. “The Russians have responded happily to the exercise,” a government source said.
It seems to be the international naval equivalent of saying “Hello, how are you?” or, sort of, dancing round the handbags.
As a little bonus for all naval fans, here is an Australian TV report from onboard the HMAS Paramatta when it returned home to Sydney from service in the Middle East: