No breakdown in training on Canberra

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

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

Royal Australian Navy sailors Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Coen Powell (left), and Able Seaman Marine Technician Liam O'Brien work with Australian Army soldier Corporal Craig Gordon on a portable diesel engine while deployed on HMAS Canberra as part of INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019. (photo: LSIS Jake Badior)
Royal Australian Navy sailors Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Coen Powell (left), and Able Seaman Marine Technician Liam O'Brien work with Australian Army soldier Corporal Craig Gordon on a portable diesel engine while deployed on HMAS Canberra as part of INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019.

HMAS Canberra’s marine technicians (MTs) are forging a new path in training their people at sea with the help of a Navy Engineering Challenge container.

Marking the first deployment of its kind to sea, Canberra’s MTs are using the portable Mercedes Benz diesel engine to prepare for the annual challenge, train junior sailors and allow people from other trades to get involved in engineering.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Liam O’Brien recently completed the TAFE component of his Marine Diesel Fitter trade and is using every spare moment to get hands on experience with the engine.

“Having this capability is not only helping me progress through my task journal quicker, but also allowing me to consolidate my training sooner,” Able Seaman O’Brien said.

“After completing a full overhaul at TAFE a few months ago, it’s great to have the chance to do it again so soon while the information is still fresh in my mind.”

In a few short weeks at sea during INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019 (IPE19), he has logged more than 100 hours breaking down the diesel engine.

“Each time we do an engine breakdown, we’re getting quicker and I’m able to diagnose and fix problems faster as my system knowledge is improving,” he said.

“All I had prior to this was a few hours here and there from maintaining the engines on board, which isn’t really the direct exposure you need.”

A group of junior MTs from the Royal New Zealand Navy have also trained on the engine under the watchful eye of Able Seaman O’Brien.

“Having the ability to teach other people how the system operates, diagnose and fit new components and pass on some of my knowledge all goes toward consolidating my training,” Able Seaman O’Brien said.

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

“It feels good to know the information I’m passing on is helping other people progress too.”

Canberra has also provided the opportunity for technicians from other ships within the IPE19 Joint Task Force to train on the engine.

Engineering Warrant Officer Colin Milligan said having the engine on board Canberra was a great opportunity to get others involved.

“It’s fantastic to do something different at sea and show people what engineering is all about,” he said.

“The portable diesel affords the task group a unique opportunity to upskill technicians from multiple platforms at sea.

“It’s been great to see some of the electronics and aircraft technicians getting involved, as well as some of the Army engineers on board.

“Ultimately it’s about tech mastery, good engineering practices and trying to show people how and why we do what we do.”