Arabian adventure for Tasmanian

Published on CPL Mark Doran (author and photographer)

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

Royal Australian Navy sailor Seaman Maritime Technician William Taylor prepares for another watch maintaining and repairing equipment aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou. (photo: Corporal Mark Doran)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Seaman Maritime Technician William Taylor prepares for another watch maintaining and repairing equipment aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.

A Burnie local's need for adventure and an engineering education is being fulfilled at sea in the Middle East.

Seaman Maritime Technician William Taylor is onboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling Middle Eastern waters as part of Australia's contribution to the multinational Combined Maritime Forces.

Seaman Taylor joined the Navy in 2014 after finishing his studies on the north-west coast of Tasmania at Burnie High School and Hellyer College and was posted to Melbourne in 2015.

He was just in time for the ship's operational workups and is now working in the Mechanical Engineering Department. In his department the stokers maintain the ship and repair equipment such as fire mains and fittings.

The 'Stokers' can also perform major tasks, such as the replacement of the ship's gas turbine when in port.

Seaman Taylor said he was the first member of his family to join the military and hoped learning a trade in the Navy would help in his future goal of becoming a marine engineer.

"Navy has been a rewarding experience, given me many opportunities and taken me to places around the world other jobs would not have," he said.

"Melbourne has a fun and entertaining crew, the conditions are good and our work is always interesting."

Seaman Taylor said he was proud to be a part of Operation MANITOU.

"We are helping to stop the trade of illegal drugs and save lives," he said.

"What we see and do is amazing."

On Melbourne's first patrol of 2015, the crew intercepted, boarded and searched a fishing dhow suspected of illegal activity in the Arabian Sea.

During the search 427kg of heroin was seized and brought onboard for identification and disposal.

Seaman Taylor said life aboard Melbourne was fast-paced and more exciting than expected.

"The crew is the best," he said.

"But I am still looking forward to catching up with my friends and family when I am on leave next year."

The ship is operating in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf with Combined Maritime Forces' Combined Task Force 150, whose mission is to intercept shipments of illegal drugs used to help fund terrorism.