HMAS Newcastle has conducted her first Replenishment at Sea (RAS) serial in the Middle East Area of Operations with RFA Fort Victoria on 29 May 2013.
This RAS was the first such evolution in the MEAO for Newcastle (CMDR P O’Grady, CSM) and added to Newcastle’s growing list of partnerships with international replenishment ships.
Newcastle has now fuelled with tankers from Spain, England, New Zealand and our own HMAS Sirius since the beginning of the year.
Able Seaman Boatswain’s Mate (ABBM) John Affleck, the fuel dump gunner, who fires the first line over to the other vessel said those working on the lines did so in very hot and humid conditions.
“The heat was something I have never experienced for a RAS but the evolution went well and I managed to reach the other ship on my first shot. I wouldn’t live it down if I missed it,” ABBM Affleck said.
Also working with the dump party was Leading Seaman Marine Technician (LSMT) Karen Pike whose job is to oversee the safety of the fuelling evolution.
“It was such a good opportunity to get outside and to see RFA Fort Victoria was something that doesn’t happen everyday. She supplied us with good quality fuel and it all happened pretty efficiently. We also ‘zapped’ Fort Victoria’s fuelling probe with our ship’s crest”.
Members of the ship’s Weapons Electrical Engineering Department were also involved in Newcastle’s first drink by hauling on the hose line.
Newly promoted Able Seaman Electronics Technician (ABET) Luke Batiste said the ship has completed several refuelling evolutions since he joined last year and they know what they need to do to get the job done as quickly and safely as possible even in the stifling heat.
“I’m surprised that it doesn’t matter who we refuel with, the routine is the same all over the world,” ABET Batiste said.
Seaman Electronics Technician (SMNET) William ‘Billy’ Gilbert was glad to have the experience of ABET Batiste to show him the ropes.
“I was a little unsure, but Luke made sure I was at the right place at the right time,” SMNET Gilbert said.
HMAS Newcastle is deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) and is assigned to the Combined Maritime Force (CMF) in order to conduct maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130248.