On September 16, HMAS Sirius celebrated her 8th birthday by returning to the water and concluding her longest and most extensive maintenance period so far.
After 6 months of contractor work, Sirius is ship shape and ready to hit the high seas to support the fleet and keep the fuel flowing.
Her ship’s company marked the occasion with a gathering in the Junior Sailors Café, where, in true Royal Australian Navy tradition, the oldest of the crew, Chief Petty Officer Shane Jones, the Commanding Officer, Commander Darren Grogan, and the youngest member, Midshipman Laura Derbyshire, cut the cake to be shared amongst the crew.
HMAS Sirius, a 25,000 tonne double-hulled tanker based at Fleet Base West in Western Australia, was commissioned in 2006 and replaced the former HMAS Westralia. Sirius has just completed a 10-year docking, which involved major maintenance activities to ensure her sea worthiness, and to maintain her civilian Lloyds Shipping Registration.
Sirius is the Navy’s largest commissioned vessel and as such, the Captain Cook Graving Dock at Fleet Base East was one of only two dockyards in Australia that could accommodate the ship.
After a long 5 months at Fleet Base East, and spending numerous hours per day inside and outside the ship, the crew is looking forward to the opportunity to get back to sea and returning home to Fleet Base West, bringing a long, 6-month stint away from home to an end.
“While the opportunity to work onboard Sirius in the dry dock has been great, it’s always tough on the families to be away again, especially after the Operation RESOLUTE deployment last Christmas. We are really looking forward to getting back to the west and back to normal running,” Leading Seaman Tony Lawrence said.
Sirius will now commence a busy period of training and assessment to ensure that the crew and the ship are safe to proceed to sea.
On conclusion of the safety assessment, Sirius will head west to Albany to meet with other fleet units and participate in the centenary of Anzac commemorations. The event will include a march in the town, a number of open days and an activity to commemorate the departure of the Anzacs in Naval convoy from King George Sound.
Then, Sirius will head back to Fleet Base West for her long awaited homecoming, where her ship’s company are sure to be welcomed into the arms of loving family and friends.