Perfect practice makes perfect

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Miah Hammond-Errey (author), CMDR Chloe Wootten (author), CPL Steve Duncan (photographer), Corporal Mark Doran (author)

Location(s): Honiara, Solomon Islands

Topic(s): HMAS Diamantina (M86), HMAS Gascoyne (M85), HMAS Huon (M82), Operation RENDER SAFE

Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers Able Seaman Christopher Goodwin (left) and Able Seaman Brian Josephson, from HMAS Diamantina, prepare to lower a high explosive charge to remove explosive remnants of war during Operation Render Safe 2016 in the Solomon Islands.
  (photo: CPL Steve Duncan)
Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers Able Seaman Christopher Goodwin (left) and Able Seaman Brian Josephson, from HMAS Diamantina, prepare to lower a high explosive charge to remove explosive remnants of war during Operation Render Safe 2016 in the Solomon Islands.

To ensure the crews of Navy ships are ready to respond to the dynamic and unpredictable environments in which they operate, they need to be well trained, well rehearsed, and well oiled.

HMA Ships Diamantina and Huon, minehunters based out of Sydney, went through this gruelling preparation in order for the ships to deploy on operations recently.

The six months leading up to the mission was full of hard work and long hours which in some ways needed to be more challenging than the mission itself.

The ships were put through their paces by Navy’s in-house training and assessment team, Sea Training Group, which tested their responses to fire, flood, minefield transits and air and surface attack. 

It is a part of life in the Navy and often extends the crew’s time away from home and family, many times over that of the actual mission.

Diamantina
had to pass a 72-hour unit readiness assessment and a 48-hour mission specific assessment before she was allowed to deploy.

Part of that process involved the recommissioning of her bow-mounted 30mm gun post maintenance and re-learning its operating procedures, Diamantina Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mark Northcote said.

“The crew rose to the challenge and after extensive drill training and fighting inclement weather we were able to achieve successful function trials,” he said. 

With the gun working Diamantina set about conducting mine countermeasure training as the job of a minehunter includes identification and disposal of unexploded and unstable ordnance in a safe manner.

“Practice makes perfect," Lieutenant Commander Northcote said.

"Our ship was tasked to dispose of two mines in 26 metres of water, and ensuring our readiness for complex underwater disposal is a very important part of what we do."

Both Diamantina and Huon have recently returned from Operation RENDER SAFE in the Solomon Islands, and sister ship HMAS Gascoyne has undertaken domestic tasking off the Queensland coast, with all ships tasked with disposal.