Full survey efforts to chart Dili Harbour

Published on LCDR Clare Randall (author), LSIS Kayla Jackson (photographer)

Location(s): Dili, Timor-Leste

Topic(s): HMAS Leeuwin (A245)

Able Seaman Hydrographic Systems Operator Alexander Singe mans the
Hydrographic Survey Suite console on the bridge of HMAS Leeuwin. (photo: LSIS Kayla Jackson)
Able Seaman Hydrographic Systems Operator Alexander Singe mans the Hydrographic Survey Suite console on the bridge of HMAS Leeuwin.

HMAS Leeuwin has completed a survey of Dili Harbour, collecting up-to-date data at the request of the Timor-Leste government for development of new charts.

Leeuwin has been in the area since late June, surveying more than twelve square nautical miles from the shoreline to the outer reaches of the harbour area.

The ship also used her embarked ten metre long Survey Motor Boats Geographe and Tom Thumb, to each collect data in the shallower parts of the harbour, demonstrating both the capability of modern survey equipment and the flexibility of the crew split across three vessels.

Able Seaman Hydrographic Systems Operator Alexander Singe has put his training to good use during the survey, both while manning the ship’s Hydrographic Survey Suite on Leeuwin’s bridge, and also as a bowman on the Survey Motor Boats.

“This isn’t my first overseas deployment, but it is my first visit to Dili, and it’s my first time conducting a more traditional harbour survey using the Survey Motor Boats,” Able Seaman Singe said.

“I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to use the skills that I learnt on my Basic Hydrography Course to help produce charts for another country and the time spent working with the Timor-Leste Defence Force personnel has been an amazing - there are a lot of similarities between our two navies.”

Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Shaun Mendez onboard HMAS Leeuwin at sea.

Royal Australian Navy officer Lieutenant Shaun Mendez onboard HMAS Leeuwin at sea.

Maritime Geospatial Officer Lieutenant Shaun Mendez appreciated the challenge of managing personnel working both aboard Leeuwin and deployed on the Survey Motor Boats, and also enjoyed the opportunity to conduct concurrent regional engagement activities with the Timor-Leste Defence Force.

“Our visit to Dili tested the ship’s capability across the full spectrum of geospatial data collection but it also demonstrated the skill and flexibility of our sailors to work as two independent crews of four on each of the Survey Motor Boats,” Lieutenant Mendez said.

“We’ve also had the opportunity to demonstrate boat work and seamanship evolutions to personnel from the Timor Leste Defence Force. We’re able to bolster Australia’s relationships with our neighbours in South East Asia, while also assisting in the development of new charts to assist safe navigation.”

This is Leeuwin’s second overseas deployment this year following visits to Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

She will continue her transit through Micronesia before returning to her home port of Cairns in early August.