HMAS Success has had a busy month deployed as part of Operation MANITOU in the Middle East Region.
Success conducted 12 replenishments at sea with ships from the United States, French, British, German, Turkish, Spanish, Dutch and Italian navies, transferring over 3,700 cubic meters (CZ) of fuel. Under direct support to Combined Task Force 150, Success also conducted eight boardings of vessels in the region.
Success’ embarked S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter, with the call sign ODIN, contributed over 65 hours to surface search operations, covering over 250,000 square nautical miles and providing locations and images of vessels in the area which were subsequently reported back to the Combined Maritime Forces headquarters. ODIN also carried out around five hours of vertical replenishment operations.
The month commenced with Success embedding in to the French Carrier Battle Group. Logistics operations were conducted in support of the combined Carrier Battle Group, Task Force 473, which included French Ships Charles de Gaulle, Chevalier Paul, Guepratte, Meuse and the Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Kent. When accompanying the French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle, Success received a front row display of the Rafael fighter jet and Dauphine helicopter aircraft.
On 10 February, Success responded to a distress call from a cargo dhow which was taking on water due to a leak in the hull of the vessel. Success’ clearance diving team assessed and repaired the damage with the assistance of the boarding party. The Master and crew were grateful for the assistance Success’ crew provided.
On 13 February Success recognised the Anniversary of the Apology to members of the Stolen Generation. Able Seaman Ali Muhammad and Petty Officer Matthew Goward raised the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island flags respectively on the ship’s yardarms at sunrise.
Success also enjoyed a port visit to Salalah, Oman for some well deserved rest. Valentine's day was celebrated from afar with members sending gifts to loved ones back home.
Success conducted a replenishment with Wasp Class USS Iwo Jima during the month. This was an unusual experience for Success as she was dwarfed by the US Navy's amphibious ship. Success was in company with Iwo Jima earlier in the month and was privileged to observe a display of their Bell MV-22 Osprey (tilt rotor) aircraft and AV-8B Harrier Jets.
Late in the month, Royal Netherlands Navy ship HNLMS Johan De Witt joined Success for replenishment and a cross deck opportunity. Rear Admiral Jonas Haggren, Commander Task Force 465 of the European Naval Force, was welcomed onboard by Commanding Officer HMAS Success, Captain Justin Jones, and viewed the replenishment from the bridge wing and Cargo Control Room – gaining insight into how the ship operates. While the Rear Admiral joined the Captain for dinner he commented on how impressed he was with the professionalism of Success’ crew.
Success will remain on task throughout March before she enters a Self Maintenance Period which is a two week period alongside.
After the maintenance period, Success sails under NATO assignment for Operation OCEAN SHIELD. This is the first time an Australian Navy vessel has been assigned to a NATO mission.