Middle East deployment gets Western Australian closer to home

Published on ABIS Jayson Tufrey (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation SLIPPER, HMAS Melbourne (F05)

Able Seaman Sean Byrne performs valve clearance checks on the number four ship's service diesel generator in Auxiliary Machinery Room number three on board HMAS Melbourne, alongside Fleet Base East, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Jayson Tufrey)
Able Seaman Sean Byrne performs valve clearance checks on the number four ship's service diesel generator in Auxiliary Machinery Room number three on board HMAS Melbourne, alongside Fleet Base East, Sydney.

Able Seaman Sean Byrne from Mindarie, near Perth, is excited about the prospect of seeing his family in Western Australia before he leaves Australia for six months to fight terrorism in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).

Able Seaman Byrne is a Marine Technician who is posted to the Adelaide class Guided Missile Frigate HMAS Melbourne. The Australian warship will depart her home port of Sydney tomorrow, to start the long journey to the MEAO where she’ll join the international campaign against terrorism, piracy and smuggling as part of Operation SLIPPER. 

Melbourne’s journey will take her across to Western Australia, where she’ll receive a magnetic treatment before setting sail for the MEAO to relieve HMAS Newcastle from maritime security patrol duties. The stopover in the west will allow Able Seaman Byrne to spend some time with his loved ones before shifting his focus to Melbourne’s mission. 

The Byrne family emigrated from Irvine, North Ayshire, Scotland in 2006, on completion of Able Seaman Byrne’s final year of school. His parents, Clair and Alan, are elated about having a chance to see off their son. 

Able Seaman Byrne joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2009 with a desire to travel and see the world. After 11 weeks of Recruit School training at HMAS Cerberus in Westernport Bay, Victoria, he completed nine months of Marine Technician Category Training. Before joining the Royal Australian Navy fleet, he also completed a Diesel Applied Skills Technical Course to earn his Certificate III in Mechanical Engineering.

Able Seaman Byrne’s daily work routine revolves around the maintenance and servicing of the ship's Diesel Generators, which produce all of the electrical power requirements for the warship at sea. As a qualified Marine Systems Technician, he keeps engineering watches in the Central Control Station (CCS), monitoring all of Melbourne’s running machinery, fitted fire alarms and toxic hazard alarm systems.

The Scottish native cites operating with the United States Super Carrier USS George Washington and helping Australia's elite Special Air Service prepare for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II in Operation Amulet as his career highlights to date. 

He says he is very much looking forward to being reunited with family and friends upon his return to Australia next year, and taking some well deserved leave after what is sure to be a long and tiring operational deployment. 

Melbourne’s deployment will be the 56th rotation of an Australian warship to the MEAO since 1990.