HMAS Diamantina visits East Timor

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Joseph Healy (author), LEUT Keith Whitehead (photographer)

Able Seaman Clearance Diver Christopher Goodwin and Seaman Clearance Diver Bryan Josephson, take members of the Forças de Defesa de Timor LesteL for a dive. (photo: LEUT Keith Whitehead)
Able Seaman Clearance Diver Christopher Goodwin and Seaman Clearance Diver Bryan Josephson, take members of the Forças de Defesa de Timor LesteL for a dive.

HMAS Diamantina conducted an official visit to Dili, Timor Leste in late March. The purpose of the visit was to engage with the naval component of the Falantil-Forcas Defensa Timor Leste as part of the Defence Cooperation Program.

The crew also had an opportunity for respite whilst deployed on Operation RESOLUTE. 

After arriving in Dili, the ship’s company participated in a sports afternoon with members of the Falantil-Forcas Defensa Timor Leste, playing cricket and soccer. 

The following Monday, members of the Falantil-Forcas Defensa Timor Leste were each paired with a member of Diamantina's ship’s company who shared similar skill sets in order to conduct training in basic mariner competencies, such as damage control, engineering, seamanship and navigation. 

The training focused on developing skills the Falantil-Forcas Defensa Timor Leste members need to operate their own patrol boats. During the first training day, Diamantina sailed to the north of Dili to conduct some underway training which included basic watch keeping, ship handling, engineering rounds, basic maintenance, boat work and seamanship duties. The second training day primarily focused on damage control procedures with Diamantina’s lead instructor conducting basic and technical training to demonstrate the Australian Navy’s capability to respond to emergencies both at sea and alongside. 

The two days of training proved valuable for the Timorese. Sub Lieutenant Nascimento of the Falantil-Forcas Defensa Timor Leste commented on the fast, methodical and professional reactions of the crew of Diamantina.

"I hope I can take the lessons I have learnt and apply them to my role as a navigator in the future," he said.

The Australian crew also visited the Cristo Rei, a 27 metre high copper statue of Jesus which stands perched on a peak to the east overlooking Dili, and travelled up the mountainous terrain of Dili to visit a war memorial depicting the activities of Australian soldiers and Timorese locals during the Second World War whilst under Japanese occupation.

Overall the visit proved to be a success from all accounts, with Diamantina enjoying the opportunity to  contribute to the development of the Falantil-Forcas Defensa Timor Leste and further demonstrate the Australian commitment to Timor Leste.