HMAS Warramunga’s Combined Engineering Support Team (WCEST) has successfully completed its scheduled works in Bahrain.
It is only the second time an engineering support team has been deployed to the Middle East region and follows the success of last year’s period of maintenance by HMAS Arunta’s CEST.
The intermediate maintenance availability (IMAV) was conducted to sustain Warramunga in her mission as a key force provider for the Combined Task Force 150 and Combined Maritime Forces.
WCEST comprises 25 personnel from both Fleet Support Unit (FSU) South East and West along with five Defence civilian contractors from Naval Ship Management who are part of the Warship Asset Management Alliance (WAMA).
Officer-in-charge WCEST, CMDR David Bettell, said the strong collaboration between Navy and industry contributed significantly to the success of the external maintenance period.
“The collaborative and can-do attitude displayed by the team will ensure Warramunga is now very well positioned to complete her MANITOU rotation,” CMDR Bettell said.
“Success has been reflected in the numbers,”
“Of the 141 tasks set to be undertaken during the IMAV, 140 tasks were completed in time and on schedule.”
“It was really good to see a combined team come together from across several commands around Australia. The team has displayed excellent drive to complete scheduled and breakdown maintenance, proving our sailors can take on external-level maintenance, and deliver a quality outcome, on time, anywhere in the world.”
In addition to scheduled tasks, FSU completed approximately 500 hours of organic level maintenance with ships staff guidance and approval; a demonstration of the positive working relations between Warramunga and WCEST.
Team member, ABML-P Erika McKay, said it had been a great opportunity as part of her deployment.
“This has been an exciting deployment where I’ve learnt useful skills and had the chance to work with Tri-Service units,” ABML-P McKay said.
“I would recommend this deployment to any ML-Ps who want to broaden their skillset.”
Technicians were not the only ones involved IMAV with both Boatswains’ Mates and Maritime Logistics sailors undertaking important roles in the WCEST.
Second-in-command WCEST, WO Rebecca Shannon, said it was exciting to see the team bond so quickly.
“From the first day of form-up week at Fleet Base East to the end of production in Bahrain, there was total commitment shown,” WO Shannon said.
“They looked after each other and quickly adjusted to the work routines and life in Bahrain.”
CPOET Adam Baskett said for some members of the team, the maintenance period was a chance to trial new and improved business practices developed from lessons learnt from last year’s IMAV.
“The lessons learnt from 2017 paved the way for a much more effective and transparent communication between all stakeholders,” CPOET Baskett said.
“I feel that we will continue to refine this process and am excited at the prospect of future joint ventures in the MER,”
CAPT Michael Turner, RAN, the Surface Combatant Capability Managers Representative, said the IMAV had again highlighted that the FSU and WAMA can successfully complete maintenance to the required standard, in the available time, anywhere in the world.
“The ability of FSU to deploy a team which responds to maintenance demands while ships are on operations, exercise or as part of a Task Group, is a significant force enabler for Navy,” CAPT Turner said.
HMAS Warramunga is deployed on Operation MANITOU as part of Combined Maritime Forces, which is a 32-nation partnership focused on defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, encouraging regional cooperation and promoting a safe maritime environment.