Success completes rare refuel

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Anthea Baczkowski (author), ABIS Jake Badior (photographer)

Warrant Officer Boatswain Stewart Ripper supervises an astern set-up replenishment at sea evolution onboard HMAS Success with United States Coast Guard Ship Aquidneck while deployed in the Middle East Region as part of Operation Manitou. (photo: Able Seaman Jake Badior)
Warrant Officer Boatswain Stewart Ripper supervises an astern set-up replenishment at sea evolution onboard HMAS Success with United States Coast Guard Ship Aquidneck while deployed in the Middle East Region as part of Operation Manitou.

HMAS Success continues to display her adaptability and capability with the completion of a unique astern replenishment evolution while deployed in the Middle East region. 

The Royal Australian Navy’s auxiliary oiler replenishment ship, currently deployed to Operation MANITOU in support of Combined Maritime Forces operations, recently conducted the ship’s first recorded astern replenishment at sea.

Success transferred fuel to United States Coast Guard Patrol Boat USCG Aquidneck on 4 March in the Gulf of Oman.

Warrant Officer Stewart Ripper said he has only conducted three astern replenishments during his 37 years as a boatswain.

“This provided a unique opportunity to enhance our seamanship skills in presenting a different method to deliver fuel to our customer,” Warrant Officer Ripper said.

Warrant Officer Ripper supervised the quarterdeck aspects of the evolution, conducted by the boatswain mates department who laid out the fuelling hoses for delivery to the receiving ship.

He explained the manoeuvre usually occurs with ships alongside one another and the refuelling hose passed to the receiving ship via a standard tension replenishment alongside method  or 'STREAM' rig. 

“Refuelling our own patrol boats is usually achieved via a ‘raft up’ situation, where both ships stop in the water, but this type of replenishment allows for each ship continues underway.

“In the case of an astern replenishment, the refuelling hose is streamed from the stern of the ship into the water and requires the receiving ship to pick up the hose out of the water.

“As Aquidneck took station on Wednesday evening, she maintained a distance of only 80-90 yards from Success’ stern. 

“Our team were on the quarterdeck ready to pass the hose, and onlookers took the opportunity to view the unusual evolution from the flight deck in the red glow of the last few hours of daylight.”

As part of Task Force 53, Success provides logistical support to coalition ships in the region operations working with different navies, different fuel types, and ships with varied of sizes and requirements.

Success also contributes to counter-piracy and counter-terrorism, however logistics remains her primary tasking. 

The ship will return to Fleet Base East in Sydney in June. 

Her main customers in the Middle East have been coalition warships which are part of the Combined Maritime Forces and ships of the European Union Naval Force.

HMAS Success is the 59th rotation to the Middle East by a Royal Australian Navy vessel since the first Gulf War in 1990.