Navy family a great stabiliser in new ship

Published on SGT Dave Morley (author and photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East

Topic(s): Fleet Base East, HMAS Hobart (D39)

Able Seaman Marine Technician Jessica Nilsen in HMAS Hobart's machinery control room while alongside Garden Island, Sydney.  (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
Able Seaman Marine Technician Jessica Nilsen in HMAS Hobart's machinery control room while alongside Garden Island, Sydney.

For one well-travelled HMAS Hobart stoker, there’s a sense of déjà vu in the new destroyer.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Jessica Nilsen has been in the Navy for more than six years and works in the electrical section of the ship’s Marine Engineering department.

She served with Commanding Officer Captain John Stavridis in the frigate HMAS Anzac when the ship deployed to Operation SLIPPER in 2012.

“He saw pretty quickly I was onboard Hobart III and came and had a chat with me,” she said.

“When we had Anzac’s photos done in Dubai, I held the ship’s shield in front of him, so when we had another photo done for Hobart III, he requested I come up to the front to hold the ship’s shield in front of him again, so he could replicate the photo.

“It’s really good having Captain Stavridis as our Commanding Officer.”

Able Seaman Nilsen said she was expecting a few challenges with the new ship, but was also looking forward to helping get the ship through her initial work-up.

“Normally when you go through a work-up most of your crew is already experienced in that platform, but we’re starting from zero, where we all have this baseline of being new, so I think it’ll be a difficult and challenging work-up,” she said.

“It’ll be challenging, but in a good way. After the work-up we’ll be going to the US for our first-of-class trials, which will be the highlight of this posting.

“It’s pretty exciting to have that opportunity.”

Able Seaman Nilsen said she joined the Navy because she wanted to travel, as well as loving the ocean, having grown up on the beaches in Newcastle.

She has served in HMA Ships AnzacStuart and Parramatta and

participated in border protection tasking under Operation RESOLUTE.

She also served on several exercises around Darwin and took part in the International Fleet Review in Japan in 2015.