Charting a course in foreign waters

Published on LEUT Anthony Martin (author), ABIS Shane Cameron (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Watson, Sydney

Topic(s): HMAS Watson, Training

Senior Sergeant Antony Ihu (left) from the Vanuatu Police and the OIC of the Bridge Training Facility Lieutenant Commander Ian Manson at the School of Navigation Warfare, HMAS Watson, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Shane Cameron)
Senior Sergeant Antony Ihu (left) from the Vanuatu Police and the OIC of the Bridge Training Facility Lieutenant Commander Ian Manson at the School of Navigation Warfare, HMAS Watson, Sydney.

Australia’s enduring ties with the Pacific have seen Navy play a leading role in improving the way we operate with our near neighbours, both across the region and closer to home.

Senior Sergeant Antony Ihu from the Vanuatu Police Maritime Wing is attending the Royal Australian Navy’s Minor War Vessel Intermediate Navigation Course at HMAS Watson in Sydney.

Senior Sergeant Ihu is an experienced member of the Police Maritime Wing and is currently the Navigator on board the Republic of Vanuatu Ship Tukoro.

The nine week course builds on the foundation navigational principles that Senior Sergeant Ihu has mastered through previous training and through his experience as an Officer of the Watch and junior Navigator on board Tukoro.  

In addition to enhancing existing skills, the Royal Australian Navy’s Intermediate Navigation Training instructs the participants in ship positioning, plotting, terrestrial fixing, confined waters operations, Mariners International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea and various other aspects of navigation.

These skills are imparted through both theory and practice, with trainees conducting navigation training on the Bridge simulator at Watson and at sea on the Naval Training Vessel Mercator.

Senior Sergeant Antony Ihu at the School of Navigation Warfare, HMAS Watson, Sydney.

Senior Sergeant Antony Ihu at the School of Navigation Warfare, HMAS Watson, Sydney.

Senior Sergeant Ihu was enjoying the learning experience at HMAS Watson and was finding the transition to new Navigation techniques a positive challenge.

“I have always conducted navigation and Officer of the Watch duties using paper charts, so using electronic charts is a new experience for me,” Senior Sergeant Ihu said.

In addition to the quality training provided on the course, Senior Sergeant Ihu will also live, eat and breathe Navy life and be immersed in the esprit de corps that come hand-in-hand with living and working in a Navy environment, which cannot be replicated at a civilian institution.

He will gain valuable insights that he can bring back to the Vanuatu Police Maritime Wing.

Senior Sergeant Ihu said he was looking forward to taking home what he’s learned during his stay in Australia.

Senior Sergeant Ihu will have the chance to test his new skills as part of the commissioning crew for the future Guardian class Patrol Boat planned for Vanuatu in 2021.

Officer in Charge of the Bridge Training Faculty at HMAS Watson, Lieutenant Commander Ian Manson said contributing to the development of regional navies and supporting Australia’s Pacific partners was an important role for the Royal Australian Navy School of Navigation Warfare.

“The training we provide here not only develops skills, but also builds relationships with our international students.

“The time our students spend putting their theory into practice on the Bridge Simulator, and at sea, enables them to professionally develop,” he said.

The Royal Australian Navy School of Navigation Warfare has a proud and successful history of teaching students from Australia and the international community.

Along with fellow trainees from the Royal Australian Navy, Senior Sergeant Ihu is also joined on course with serving members from Indonesia and Fiji.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20191956.