Operational tanker supports border protection

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Christopher Harvey (author), LCDR Peter Russell (photographer)

HMAS Sirius conducting a RAS-(L) underway for HMAS Stuart, allowing Stuart to stay on station longer as a result of the much needed liquid refreshment. (photo: LCDR Peter Russell)
HMAS Sirius conducting a RAS-(L) underway for HMAS Stuart, allowing Stuart to stay on station longer as a result of the much needed liquid refreshment.

The Navy’s west based operational tanker, HMAS Sirius, provided essential support to Operation RESOLUTE over the Christmas and New Year period, conducting routine re-supply runs from Fleet Base West. During the first patrol, Sirius transferred much needed fuel to HMAS Stuart off Christmas Island.
 
Petty Officer (PO) Maritime Logistics - Personnel sailor Paul Sheehan, the replenishment at sea (RAS) rig driver for the replenishment, commented that it was a challenging RAS evolution due to the wind and the angle needed to get the evolution underway.
 
“Like any seamanship evolution, safety is paramount. The teamwork shown by the two ships’ companies working together was the key to making this RAS happen smoothly,” PO Sheehan said.
 
Assistant Marine Engineering Officer, Sub Lieutenant (SBLT) Andrei Sosnin said “Using the training and skills learnt whilst on board to support the Australian Defence Force’s mission was a rewarding experience.”
 
As an engineering officer, SBLT Sosnin oversaw the transfer of the fuel.
 
“By Sirius deploying to support Stuart, we enabled Stuart more flexibility and time on station to achieve her mission,” he said.
 
For the new Commanding Officer of Sirius, Commander Darren Grogan, it was the first opportunity for him to witness his team in action.
 
“The Ships Company executed the replenishment with the minimum of fuss and demonstrated the critical skills gained from what has been a busy year for the ship. Importantly, they showed me that they are mission ready and very capable,” CMDR Grogan said.
 
While it may have been the first replenishment for the new Commanding Officer, it was the final one for the Executive Officer, CMDR Phillip Henry, who has been onboard for five months as a stand-in ‘Operational Relief’ crew member.
 
“I have been lucky to have such an experienced and competent XO onboard as I learned the ropes,” CMDR Grogan said.
 
CMDR Henry will depart the ship on return to Fleet Base West and will head to the Middle East Area of Operations later this month, for six months.
 
In total, Sirius will have conducted five patrols in support of Operation RESOLUTE over the period, and will go into a maintenance period in March 2014.