HMAS Canberra’s four new Landing Craft (LLC) embarked the ship’s well dock via the stern door for the very first time in December.
Canberra’s First Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander Michael Nipperess described the day as a “Super Seamanship Saturday”.
“We have achieved so much in just one day. We conducted anchorage preparations for entering harbour, conducted boat drills, and then secured to a buoy in Sydney Harbour - a first for the Landing Helicopter Dock - then embarked the four craft,” said Lieutenant Commander Nipperess.
It was a sight to see as the four landing craft made their way from HMAS Waterhen to Canberra who had successfully secured to the buoy proudly flying the Australian White Ensign with Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House as a backdrop.
The vessels came into station approximately 100 yards astern of Canberra’s position, where they waited for the First Lieutenant to give the order to come into Canberra’s dock, one by one.
Lieutenant Commander Nipperess said it was a very exciting day with a few healthy nerves.
“Canberra’s boats crews have spent the last 18 months in a graduated training program to drive and manage these new craft. As a team, we were very excited to be able to bring them into Canberra’s dock for the first time,” said Lieutenant Commander Nipperess.
“I couldn’t be happier with the performance of the team today. From the engineering side of docking down the well dock, to the way in which the boat coxswain’s handled the craft to get safely into the dock - it was all done calmly and professionally. They did a great job,” he said.
Being part of a landing craft crew is a responsible position, particularly for the Leading Seaman in charge of the vessel. Landing craft can be used to transport vehicles, equipment, stores or armed forces from and to the ship by day or night, and in potentially dangerous environments.
Landing Craft Coxswain Leading Seaman Frederick Foster said today felt great.
“It does feel good to be the first person in the fleet to do this, however it’s not as daunting as it could have been as we’ve done a lot of training and we now feel quite comfortable and confident in being able to manoeuvre these craft into the well dock of the LHD,” said Leading Seaman Foster.
“I am excited to be the first Coxswain to drive into the well dock of HMAS Canberra.
“The craft is a very capable vessel and to be a Leading Seaman in charge of the vessel when it’s away from the ship is quite a unique situation and feel quite proud to be in this position,” he said.
Other members of Canberra’s ship’s company lined the quarterdeck and the Heavy vehicle deck to watch the ship’s docking operations and see the vessels come into the ship for the first time.
Once the four craft were inside the ship and secured, the stern door was closed. The well dock was drained of water leaving them in their resting place while the ship conducted a reduced activity period over Christmas.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143831.