Battle Tanker saves the day

Published on LEUT Anthea Baczkowski (author), ABIS Jake Badior (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation MANITOU

HMAS Success's Seahawk 'ODIN' lends a hand to United States Ships Joshua Humphries (top) and Oscar Austin to conduct a vertical replenishment while in the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU. (photo: ABIS Jake Badior)
HMAS Success's Seahawk 'ODIN' lends a hand to United States Ships Joshua Humphries (top) and Oscar Austin to conduct a vertical replenishment while in the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU.

HMAS Success has again proven her flexibility by providing short notice logistical help to a United States 6th Fleet Task Force operating off the east coast of Africa.
 
The tanker auxiliary oiler USNS Joshua Humphreys suffered a breakdown which, for a time, prevented her from refuelling or re-supplying the vessels of Task Force 63.
 
With destroyer USS Oscar Austin and frigate USS Simpson running low on fuel, Success was directed to proceed south at best speed from the vicinity off the Yemeni Coast, to provide assistance.
 
Operations Room Officer Lieutenant Ian Manson received the order in the early hours of the morning.
 
"It was short notice and unexpected but that’s part of being on operations. It's great to have been able to assist our allies in remaining on task," Lieutenant Manson said.

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Andrew Reid is seen at the control console during a replenishment at sea evolution with United States Ship Simpson in support of Combined Task Force 53.

Leading Seaman Marine Technician Andrew Reid is seen at the control console during a replenishment at sea evolution with United States Ship Simpson in support of Combined Task Force 53.


It took 60 hours for Success to reach the three vessels, and her embarked S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter - call sign ODIN - launched early in the morning of 23 February and commenced transferring cargo from Joshua Humphreys to Oscar Austin.
 
Meanwhile, Success commenced a replenishment at sea - liquid with Simpson, passing over 450 cubic metres of F76 diesel and 15 cubic metres of F44 aviation fuel.
 
On completion of the replenishment with Simpson, Oscar Austin was then supplied with more than 900 cubic metres of F76 diesel, during two hours alongside.
 
ODIN returned to Success after successfully transferring 106 pallets over almost five hours in the air.
 
Success’s Flight Commander, Lieutenant Commander Lee Prichard, was extremely happy with the day’s work conducting what are known as vertical replenishments.
 
"Opportunities for large-scale replenishments like this are rare in the Royal Australian Navy, so it was a great opportunity to build up our numbers and hone our skills,’ Lieutenant Commander Prichard said.
 
Once Oscar Austin had received all her fuel, Task Force 63 departed to continue its original mission after almost eight hours of continuous replenishment operations.

HMAS Success's Seahawk 'ODIN' takes off after being refuelled by United States Ship (USS) Oscar Austin while conducting vertical replenishments from USS Joshua Humphries in the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU.

HMAS Success's Seahawk 'ODIN' takes off after being refuelled by United States Ship (USS) Oscar Austin while conducting vertical replenishments from USS Joshua Humphries in the Middle East Region as part of Operation MANITOU.


Riding considerably higher in the water after passing more than 1,200 tonnes of cargo and fuel, Success moved on for her next tasking.
 
Success remains on Operation MANITOU in the Middle East until her return to Fleet Base East in June. Success’s flexible tasking includes support for Task Force 53, which provides logistical support for allied ships in the region, and as an integral unit of Combined Task Force 150, contributing to maritime security and counter terrorism, as part of the Combined Maritime Forces.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20150556.