HMAS Newcastle has marked her second Operation MANITOU patrol with a dual replenishment at sea in the Gulf of Aden with USNS Kanawha and Pakistan Navy Ship Alamgir.
The resupply presented Newcastle with the opportunity to operate with another Oliver Hazard Perry class (called Adelaide class in Australia) ship, in Alamgir.
Newcastle’s embarked MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopter launched to record the evolution from the air and for Seaman Boatswain Ben Robertson, it was another highlight in what has so far been “a surreal experience” on operational deployment.
“To stand there, so incredibly close to a gigantic American replenishment ship with a cool warship on the other side was just unbelievable,” Seaman Robertson said.
Asked how he enjoyed the evolution in the extreme heat of the Middle Eastern summer, Seaman Robertson responded with enthusiasm.
“It definitely was challenging, the sun and the sweat are intense, which makes pulling off such a hard manoeuvre that much more challenging.
“I was just trying to focus on staying alert and doing my job safely - it can be dangerous.
“That being said, getting to see incredible things like this makes slogging it in the sun worth it.
“When we broke away, with our song blaring over the speakers, it was one of the coolest moments I’ve ever experienced.”
The evolution also highlighted the interoperability of the Combined Maritime Forces units within the region. Lieutenant Daniel Cochrane described approaching Alamgir as if he were looking through a mirror.
“I have only ever seen other Oliver Hazard Perry class ships alongside, never at sea, so this was an impressive sight,” he said.
With 23 years of experience under his belt, Petty Officer Boatswain Stephen Kypreos ran the evolution as the rig captain.
“It’s a special type of evolution for me because it’s seamanship, which is my core job,” he said.
“That being said, it also brings the entire ship together."
“Up there on the top decks there was no distinction made between rank or department."
“Everyone was up there heaving in on the lines, from lieutenant commanders to seamen, from technicians to logistics officers.”
Newcastle is deployed in the Middle East region in support of Australia’s contribution to counter narcotics, and maritime security.