Battle Tanker farewelled after 33 years of service

This article has photo gallery This article has a video attachmentPublished on LEUT Ryan Zerbe (author), ABIS Leo Baumgartner (photographer)

Location(s): Garden Island, NSW

Topic(s): Decommissioning, HMAS Success (OR 304)

Ship’s company of HMAS Success march off the ship for the last time during the decommissioning ceremony at Fleet Base East, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Leo Baumgartner)
Ship’s company of HMAS Success march off the ship for the last time during the decommissioning ceremony at Fleet Base East, Sydney.

HMAS Success (II), the longest serving ship in Navy’s Fleet, has completed her service to the nation and was decommissioned at her homeport at Sydney’s Garden Island on Saturday.

Success - dubbed the ‘Battle Tanker’ - has been a vital part of Navy’s capability over the past 33 years.

The 157 metre-long Durance Class Replenishment Oiler was the last major vessel built at Cockatoo Island in Sydney and was the biggest ship in Navy’s Fleet at the time she was commissioned in 1986.

Over more than three decades she sailed more than a million nautical miles and completed almost 3500 replenishments at sea around the world.

She earned battle honours for her service during the Gulf War in 1991 and East Timor in 1999, and also participated in a record 11 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises and the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

Despite her age, Success maintained a high tempo right to the end, deploying twice since May last year and returning from a four month overseas deployment just weeks before her service life came to an end.

 

 

The 23rd and final Commanding Officer of HMAS Success, Captain Darren Grogan, said lowering the ship’s Australian White Ensign for the final time closed a significant chapter in Navy’s history.

Success will be missed. She’s been such an integral part of Navy over the past 33 years that most of our people today will not know the Fleet without her,” Captain Grogan said.

“However this bittersweet feeling is tempered by the knowledge that so many who have served in Success — many of them here today — are proud of her achievements on behalf of Navy and Australia,” he said.

For Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Paul Wosomo, it was the first time he’d been part of a decommissioning crew.

“It was a massive honour to decommission a ship built in Sydney at Cockatoo Island,” he said.

Success will now make way for new replenishment ship NUSHIP Supply (II), which was launched in Ferrol, Spain last November.