One of Navy's smallest establishments was central to Australian Defence Force support for the post cyclone Debbie recovery efforts after amphibious HMAS Choules was dispatched to assist.
On the ship's way north she called in at Brisbane to load stores and heavy equipment vital to the recovery response and local shore establishment, HMAS Moreton went into action to ensure Choules’ visit went as smoothly as possible and without unnecessary delay.
Moreton acted in capacity as shipping agent for the port call and was responsible for managing the provision of port-side services.
This included coordination of tug-boat support, confirmation of waste management services and refuelling requirements, booking suitable berthing facilities including port-side cranes and forklifts as well as security arrangements and site access for Defence personnel and equipment.
This was all conducted within 48 hours of notification of Choules’ estimated time of arrival at the Port of Brisbane.
Commanding Officer Moreton Commander Mark McConnell was pleased that his establishment could help with minimal time to prepare.
"I am extremely proud that Moreton can do our part supporting Navy operational outcomes at such short notice," he said.
This was all undertaken at the same time as all shore establishment executive officers mustered in Brisbane to attend their annual conference, none of them anticipated being exposed to such a severe weather event.
Moreton's Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Marsh Quintieri said the conference allowed for a strong working environment between the officers.
"The conference was a fantastic opportunity for all to network and build trust, working together to achieve their respective Commands and Commander Shore Force's intent," he said.
"The conference was worthwhile with relevant and timely information shared by presenters who are specialists in their field."
Presenters included Captain John Metzl, the Director Royal Australian Navy Central Canteens Board, the Shore Force Seaworthiness Team and Commander Larry Menon from Estate and Infrastructure Group.
A key issue for all establishments was the importance of maintaining professional relationships with resident units and service providers.
Establishing trust and effective lines of communication were also matters that were discussed, a timely combo for the support being provided to the relief efforts.
"Moreton has worked hard over recent years to develop and foster close working relationships with local authorities and industry partners to enable flexible and rapid response for short notice events like this,” Commander McConnell said.
A lesson not lost on all the course participants.