A turtle-y awesome rescue

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Danielle Couch (author), LSCIS Fane Cokanauto (photographer)

Location(s): Tiwi Islands

Topic(s): HMAS Childers (P93)

Franklin the Turtle and HMAS Childers Executive Officer Lieutenant Danielle Couch on their way back to Darwin.  (photo: LSCIS Fane Cokanauto)
Franklin the Turtle and HMAS Childers Executive Officer Lieutenant Danielle Couch on their way back to Darwin.
The crew of patrol boat, HMAS Childers stuck their necks out for a marine friend when they rescued an injured green sea turtle off the coast of the Tiwi Islands recently.
 
During an afternoon watch, Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Brett Paton noticed a distressed animal bobbing up and down on the surface of the ocean.
 
On closer inspection, Leading Seaman Paton discovered a turtle with a deep gash to its shell, the injury preventing it from diving.
 
The crew took the turtle on board and Petty Officer Boatswain Thomas Kelly quickly made a temporary saltwater pool for ‘Franklin the Turtle’, named after the children’s animated TV character.
 
The Childers command team contacted the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Service and a decision was made to take Franklin to Darwin for assessment and treatment.
 
The crew handed him over to rangers the following morning. The crew receive regular updates on the health of Franklin, who is on the way to making a full recovery.
 
Seaman Boatswains Mate Morgan Watson said it was an experience she will never forget.
 
“It is very rewarding to see that we are making a difference. The green sea turtle is an endangered species and it is such an amazing opportunity to be in a position to ensure that these animals will be around for future generations,” she said.
 
Childers preparing for a two-month deployment to the South West Pacific from September to establish closer ties with the island nations and work with the region to improve maritime security.