Success and Innovation - Problem solving sailor praised on Operation MANITOU

Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author), LSIS Brenton Freind (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU

Innovative Sailor, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Nimrod Arevalo, shows off his machined screw cap belonging to a diesel governor onboard HMAS Success. Without the part, the whole governor would have to be replaced. (photo: LSIS Brenton Freind)
Innovative Sailor, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Nimrod Arevalo, shows off his machined screw cap belonging to a diesel governor onboard HMAS Success. Without the part, the whole governor would have to be replaced.

A Marine Technician on board HMAS Success has been praised for initiating a series of innovative projects to improve his ship’s capability and the safety of those on board.

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Nimrod Arevalo is currently on Operation MANITOU - the Australian Government's contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.

Leading Seaman Arevalo has undertaken about eight separate projects involving modifications since joining the ship, which has resulted in significant cost savings and efficiencies.

The modifications have been carried out across several departments but he says a modification to a winch was a personal standout.

“We came up with a special safety anti-reversing ratchet for the hand winch,” he said.

“I had to re-engineer the original and in the end we came up with a safer and more effective design.”

Leading Seaman Arevalo ran each innovation past his supervisor Commander Arran Melville who was eager to approve his ideas.

Commander Melville said he was impressed by his technician's innovation and drive.

“Our business should be about continuous improvement,” Commander Melville said.

“Just because we have always followed a certain process doesn't mean it’s the best way of doing things.”

Innovative Sailor, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Nimrod Arevalo, attaches a machined screw cap to diesel governor onboard HMAS Success, Without the part, the whole governor would have to be replaced.

Innovative Sailor, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Nimrod Arevalo, attaches a machined screw cap to diesel governor onboard HMAS Success, Without the part, the whole governor would have to be replaced.


Leading Seaman Arevalo says the feedback from his shipmates has also been overwhelmingly positive.

“Whenever you have an idea to present, make sure it is attainable, that all the resources are available and that you have the right skills to do the job,” he said.

“By doing this you will earn the trust of both your supervisor and respect from fellow colleagues.”

Commander Melville agrees any sailor who presents a solution to a problem should be commended, dismissing suggestions that innovative solutions can carry too much risk.

“Each idea must be considered on merit,” Commander Melville said.

“Don't get bogged down in process, remain output focussed and look at ways to complete the mission.

“As long as any innovative repair undergoes the requisite amount of engineering rigour and all hazards are identified and assessed and subsequently managed then any residual risk can be adequately managed.”

For his part, Leading Seaman Arevalo remains on the lookout for more technical innovations and challenges.

“Every time I perform a job or make any project I ask myself, why do it? How can I do it?

“And then I put my heart into it.”

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143110.