Dibby goes home

Published on LSHSO Lawrence McLean (author and photographer)

Location(s): Dawson Strait, PNG

Topic(s): HMAS Mermaid (A02), HMAS Paluma (A01)

LSBM Barth Tiro conducts a Tide Camp during a survey of the Dawson Strait, Papua New Guinea. HMA Ships Mermaid and Paluma deployed to the region in August 2013 to conduct a hydrographic survey of the Dawson Strait. (photo: LSHSO Lawrence McLean)
LSBM Barth Tiro conducts a Tide Camp during a survey of the Dawson Strait, Papua New Guinea. HMA Ships Mermaid and Paluma deployed to the region in August 2013 to conduct a hydrographic survey of the Dawson Strait.

A chance to deploy as part of HMAS Mermaid’s ship’s company to conduct soundings in Dawson Strait, Papua New Guinea, was too good an opportunity for former Papua New Guinea native, Leading Seaman Bart Tiro to pass up.

LS Tiro, was born in Kimbe in Papua New Guinea and joined the Hydrographic Survey ship as an officer of the watch and liaison officer for the deployment.

“Before I joined the Royal Australian Navy six years ago, I was a sailor in the Papua New Guinea Navy. I spent ten years serving my homeland, before I came to Australia,” said LS Tiro.

“The deployment was a great opportunity for me to visit my place of birth and put my local knowledge to good use. Best of all we are doing important work, that will help the local people in the future.”

Mermaid sailed in-company with HMAS Paluma and during August conducted soundings and collected data along on the coastline. The information gathered will determine under keel clearances for merchant and tourism vessels and will later be transformed into charts by the Australian Hydrographic Office in Wollongong. By providing mariners with safe navigation tools, it is hoped tourism and trade will be boosted in the region.

Commanding Officer of Mermaid, LCDR Sara Lambden, says LS Tiro’s expertise was a big asset.

“LS Tiro has been an invaluable member of the ships company during this deployment; not just for his officer of the watch skills but as a cuff rate ‘Droggie’ and liaison officer.”

“As part of our data collection, we deploy a variety of instruments and gauges, before establishing a shore camp from which to read equipment. LS Tiro was able to explain to the local residents what the Hydrographic vessels were doing, what all of the equipment did, how long it was going to be there, reassure them that it would cause no harm, and how important it was that the equipment not be interfered with,” said LCDR Lambden.

“Thanks to LS Tiro’s efforts, the local people were extremely supportive of us being there. We in turn enjoyed learning a lot about the area and the people during our visit.”

While in Papua New Guinea, Mermaid and Paluma attended the opening of the Uni Centre at Esa’ Ala Station and took part in the Independence Day celebrations.  Mermaid also donated a small portion of the ships library to one of the villages when they expressed an interest in reading, which they appreciated enormously.

LSBM Barth Tiro leads personnel from HMA Ships Mermaid and Paluma in a parade during Independence Day celebrations at Esa' Ala Station, Papua New Guinea.

LSBM Barth Tiro leads personnel from HMA Ships Mermaid and Paluma in a parade during Independence Day celebrations at Esa' Ala Station, Papua New Guinea.