Operational officer of the watch in Arunta

This article has photo gallery Published on Corporal Sebastian Beurich (author), CMDR Chloe Griggs (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Bahrain

Topic(s): Operations, Operation MANITOU, HMAS Watson, HMAS Arunta (F151), Drug Interdiction, Counter-piracy, Counter-terrorism, Deployment

Lieutenant Patrick Velu observing Indian Talwar Class INS Teg (F45) operating with HMAS Arunta during a recent PASSEX off the coast of Goa, India. (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Lieutenant Patrick Velu observing Indian Talwar Class INS Teg (F45) operating with HMAS Arunta during a recent PASSEX off the coast of Goa, India.

Lieutenant Patrick Velu is relishing being part of Navy’s team in the Middle East – putting training into action as an officer-of-the-watch in HMAS Arunta.

LEUT Velu commissioned in 2007 as a Maritime Warfare Officer, aspiring to command a warship and is well on the way, as this is his second operational deployment on top of exercises across the globe.

He said the most exciting part of his job was seeing different parts of the world.

“I was on HMAS Sydney when she sailed around the world on exercise Northern Trident in 2009 and HMAS Manoora when she sailed to New Caledonia for exercise Croix du Sud in 2010,” he said.

“I’ve also been fortunate to visit Ashmore Reef and Christmas Island.

“Both are Australian territories which very few Australians get to see and experience their natural beauty.”

Maritime Warfare Officers are trained to be the representative of the ship’s Commanding Officer on the bridge of a warship.

“That means I’m directly responsible to the ship’s Commanding Officer for making sure everything’s safe,” he said.

His training at sea, and ashore at Sydney base HMAS Watson, has armed him with mariner and navigation skills which are essential for safe passage through the world’s oceans and are vital to boarding operations – a key part of Arunta’s role in the Middle East.

The ship is tasked to Operation MANITOU and is contributing to the US-led Combined Maritime Forces, a 31-nation partnership focused on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment.

On his return to Australia later in the year, Lieutenant Velu said he was looking forward to taking full advantage of Australia’s beautiful beaches.
It looks like his love of the ocean is here to stay.