Experienced Sailors prepare ship for disposal

Published on LEUT Anthony Martin (author and photographer)

Location(s): Garden Island, Sydney

Topic(s): HMAS Darwin (F04), Decommissioning, Garden Island, NSW

A wealth of Navy experience working with the Ex-HMAS Darwin Disposal team, L-R, CPOs Wayne Fredericks, Kerry Ross, Dennis Skewes and Steven Searle. (photo: LEUT Anthony Martin)
A wealth of Navy experience working with the Ex-HMAS Darwin Disposal team, L-R, CPOs Wayne Fredericks, Kerry Ross, Dennis Skewes and Steven Searle.

When a ship is decommissioned it isn’t as simple as the crew walking away. Experienced staff support the disposal process and remove as much usable and valuable equipment from the ship that can be utilised again across the fleet and defence.

The Defence Single Disposal Organisation (SDO) currently employs a large number of reserve personnel from all three services in various roles supporting the disposal of former defence equipment. One major task underway at the moment is the work being conducted on the former HMAS Darwin in Garden Island, Sydney.

A team from SDO is working with Navy and the SPO to identify, record and remove equipment for future use or disposal. Everything is catalogued and checked, not just for allocation purposes but also to ensure safety considerations, security, quality and serviceability.

A number of Navy Reserve personnel are members of the team working to prepare the ship for disposal. Between the five reserve staff working in the Port Hangar on Darwin on a cool winter’s day, there was over 200 years of service. Most of the team was serving before Darwin was even commissioned.

Some equipment may be re-used with the remaining FFGs HMA Ships Melbourne and Newcastle. "We bring skills, experience and an eye for detail to the processes," said Chief Petty Officer Boatswain Wayne Fredericks. "We have previous FFG experience and use this to help us know what to look for and where things need to go".

Personnel interested in a Reserve position with the SDO should submit a resume to peter.davis2@defence.gov.au