HMAS Adelaide has successfully embarked a large number of recruits from Royal Australian Navy Recruit School, HMAS Cerberus in Victoria as part of a civilian evacuation exercise.
Adelaide personnel were sent ashore via embarked helicopter to secure a landing area and screen civilian evacuees. The ship’s two LHD Landing Craft then negotiated choppy seas off Westernport Bay to evacuate more than 100 non-combatant role players from shore to the ship where sailors and soldiers provided the necessary care required using extensive onboard facilities. This was a complex exercise, but for HMAS Adelaide's crew, it's all part of the job onboard Australia's largest class of warship.
Commanding Officer Captain Jonathan Earley was impressed with the way his crew managed the large number of recruits stepping aboard the ship.
"In this scenario the recruits playing evacuees came to us with medical needs that had to be assessed by our medical team, and family groups that needed to be kept together," he said.
"Carrying out this kind of thorough exercise using both aircraft and landing craft, in bad weather, made this a multi-dimensional event that challenged us and required us to adapt.
"At any time the Australian Government could task us with evacuating civilians anywhere in the region and I'm glad that this exercise demonstrates that we're up to the task,” Captain Earley said.
Chief Petty Officer Maritime Logistics - Steward Trevor Maybir found that the number of people coming aboard by boat tested how quickly the Ship's Medical Emergency Team could process them.
"It was a slow process at times but anyone with a simulated condition was screened by the advance party ashore and categorised so once they arrived on the ship, we could screen them a second time more quickly and direct them to the medical staff,” he said.
"Some people were classed as family groups so we made a point of keeping them together if one needed to be referred to the medical or nursing officer.
"This is the second time most of my team have done an exercise like this and they automatically know where they need to be and what they need to do,” Chief Petty Officer Maybir said.
HMAS Adelaide has recently spent several weeks at sea undergoing assessments with Sea Training Group, testing the ship's operational readiness.
The 230-metre long Canberra class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) is capable of carrying out a variety of roles, including large scale humanitarian assistance and disaster relief tasks.