HMAS Launceston in the right place, at the right time

Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author), LSIS Andrew Dakin (photographer)

Stock Image: HMAS Launceston makes an approach to HMAS Benalla for a light line transfer off the coast of Cairns during the Minor War Vessel Concentration Period. (photo: LSIS Andrew Dakin)
Stock Image: HMAS Launceston makes an approach to HMAS Benalla for a light line transfer off the coast of Cairns during the Minor War Vessel Concentration Period.

Three recreational fishermen are grateful for the crew of HMAS Launceston who came to their aid off the Northern Territory coast this month.
 
The Armidale class patrol boat (crewed by Assail One) was conducting a routine maritime security patrol in the vicinity of Luxmere Head at dusk on Sunday, 22 June when it responded to an orange smoke flair discharged by a small recreational fishing vessel just 1,000 yards away.
 
Launceston deployed a sea boat to investigate and discovered the dingy was in need of a tow after the engine had failed.
 
Launceston's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Rob Cucchi said the rescue was a modest one.
 
“The fishermen requested a tow to Hixman Point boat ramp which was ten nautical miles away,” he said.
 
The tow took just under one hour twenty minutes, using one of Launceston’s two jet rigid hulled inflatable sea boats.

Stock Image: Assail One crew members embark in one of HMAS Launceston's two Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats.

Stock Image: Assail One crew members embark in one of HMAS Launceston's two Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats.


“It wasn’t a complicated evolution,” Lieutentant Commander Cucchi said.
 
“There were no medical issues, or atrocious sea conditions, it was just some good neighbourly stuff."
 
Commander Jeff Williams, Director of Operations at the Headquarters Northern Command in Darwin said the patrol boat fleet are well equipped for Search and Rescue missions, no matter how big or small.
 
“The Armidale class patrol boats play a very active role in monitoring Australia’s northern coastline, looking for irregular activity and the possibility of vessels in distress,” he said.
 
“This was a small request, but nonetheless I’m sure the fishos were grateful to be home, tucked up in bed on a Sunday night and not stuck out on the water,” he said.