First visit to Canberra for Kiwi sailors

This article has photo gallery Published on LSIS Jake Badior (author and photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Canberra (L02), Indo-Pacific Endeavour

Royal Australian Navy sailor Able Seaman Marine Technician Liam O'Brien mentors Royal New Zealand Navy sailor Ordinary Marine Technician Sam Marsh (front left) on board HMAS Canberra during INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019. (photo: LSIS Jake Badior)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Able Seaman Marine Technician Liam O'Brien mentors Royal New Zealand Navy sailor Ordinary Marine Technician Sam Marsh (front left) on board HMAS Canberra during INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019.

Some Royal New Zealand Navy marine technicians are getting their first taste of sea life in HMAS Canberra (III) as part of INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019.

Ordinary Marine Technician (OMT) Hunta Marsh is from Hawke’s Bay, on New Zealand’s North Island, and is enjoying working with the Australians.

“I was a little nervous at the start, but I’m really enjoying it now and just want to stay at sea working on my competency log,” OMT Marsh said.

“Aussies are more upfront than us when it comes to work; they just want to get in and get it done.

“We still get the work done, but we tend to be a little more relaxed about it.”

Canberra is part of IPE19’s Joint Task Force 661, which is promoting security and stability in the region.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Liam O’Brien of the Royal Australian Navy trained the New Zealanders using a first in Navy capability at sea: a portable Mercedes Benz diesel engine.

“It feels good to know the information I’m passing on is helping other people progress,” Able Seaman O’Brien said.

“Having the ability to teach people how the system operates, diagnose problems and fit new components all goes towards consolidating my training.

“One of the key parts of our trade is good engineering practices and that’s what I’m trying to impart here.”

OMT Marsh described Able Seaman O’Brien as ‘a walking book’.

“He knows everything about everything and explains things really well,” he said.

“Before we’d stripped an engine, I didn’t really know much about components.

“I’m learning a lot about how the diesel engine runs and the role certain components play in that.”

He and his colleagues aim to complete their competency logs while deployed in Canberra, something that normally takes around six months. 

“We’re trying to get them finished in three months...which is possible if you want the biscuits and you’re dedicated,” OMT Marsh said.

“I’m really motivated to get it done and take some of my new knowledge and skills back home.”

The NZ contingent will disembark Canberra and head home at the end of May after almost three months away, having visited Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Jakarta.