HMAS Perth refuels with HMAS Success in southern Indian Ocean search zone

Published on CMDR Sean Noble (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Perth (F157), HMAS Success (OR 304), Replenishment at Sea (RAS)

HMAS Perth refuelled by HMAS Success during a replenishment at sea (RAS) as part of Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN. (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
HMAS Perth refuelled by HMAS Success during a replenishment at sea (RAS) as part of Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate HMAS Perth has been given a helping hand by the RAN supply ship HMAS Success during Replenishment at Sea (RAS) in the southern Indian Ocean.

Both ships are taking part in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Perth has been at sea for several weeks. The refuel provided each ship with the chance to undertake a well rehearsed routine, but one which is always full of potential challenges.

A RAS takes time and the efforts of almost the entire ships’ company. Sailors like Able Seaman Marine Technician Hannah Nadalini join forces to make sure the evolution was completed properly and safely.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Hannah Nadalini heaves on the distance line on the chaff deck onboard HMAS Perth during a replenishment at sea (RAS) with HMAS Success as part of Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Hannah Nadalini heaves on the distance line on the chaff deck onboard HMAS Perth during a replenishment at sea (RAS) with HMAS Success as part of Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN.

“My place during a RAS is on the distance line,” Able Seaman Nadalini said.

“Everyone at my station has done this many times but it’s important to work as a team and to focus on the task at hand.”

Nearby, Leading Seaman Boatswain’s Mate Jenna Shiel was on the Gun Direction Platform, preparing to fire a line across to Success to begin the delicate hook-up.

Leading Seaman Boatswain's Mate Jenna Shiel supervises on the gun direction platform of HMAS Perth during a replenishment at sea (RAS) as part of Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN.

Leading Seaman Boatswain's Mate Jenna Shiel supervises on the gun direction platform of HMAS Perth during a replenishment at sea (RAS) as part of Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN.

“It’s all about the aim!’ Leading Seaman Shiel said.

“A bad shot and the entire process could be delayed - that won’t go down well with my shipmates!” she said.

Throughout the process, however, the search for debris continued. Australian Army Gunner Richard Brown remained on Perth’s forecastle, binoculars at the ready.

Gunner Richard Brown, left, of Transit Security Element on lookout on the forecastle of HMAS Perth in search of debris from missing Malaysia Airline Flight MH370 during Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN.

Gunner Richard Brown, left, of Transit Security Element on lookout on the forecastle of HMAS Perth in search of debris from missing Malaysia Airline Flight MH370 during Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN.

“It’s a big ocean,” said Gunner Brown, “but at some stage we are all hoping that something will turn up to solve this mystery.”

After several hours, Perth detached from Success and both ships continued on their way.