Four trainee Maritime Warfare Officers embarked in HMAS Wollongong are currently consolidating their ability to drive a warship as they undertake one of the sea phases of their training.
As well as conducting operations and exercises, one of the prime tasks of each branch of the Australian Defence Force is to 'raise, train and sustain' the people and capabilities to conduct such military operations when required.
Wollongong's Navigating Officer, Lieutenant Jarrod Chesher, observed that the training undertaken in minor war vessels such as the Royal Australian Navy's fleet of Armidale class and Cape class patrol boats is a critical phase of a Maritime Warfare Officer's development.
"During the minor war vessel phase of their training, Junior Officers are required to get their Limited Navigation Watchkeeping Certificate, which marks the time when they first hold their own watches," Lieutenant Chesher said.
"This is a major milestone in their career as it marks the point where Command is confident that the Officer can take responsibility for the safe navigation of a warship without direct supervision.”
"The experience they gain is invaluable as they move forward in their training to undertake similar roles in frigates and other major fleet units, before many of them return to the Patrol Boat fleet as Navigators, Executive Officers and perhaps one day in Command."
Normally a Patrol Boat will have two-to-three trainee Maritime Warfare Officers assigned to them, but during the deployment on AUSINDO CORPAT 2016 Wollongong had four – Lieutenant Luke Deering, Sub Lieutenant Jackson Miller, Sub Lieutenant Rhys Worboys and Acting Sub Lieutenant Tran Vo.
"As we were conducting a Coordinated Patrol with Indonesia inside the boundaries of our respective Exclusive Economic Zones, our training in Wollongong provided a unique opportunity to apply knowledge and skills in an operational setting," Lieutenant Deering said.
"AUSINDO CORPAT 2016 was different from most patrol boat deployments in that we spent significant time in company with two Indonesian warships - KRI Sampari and KRI Layang - standing us in good stead for the next phase of our training, which involves working with multiple ships in company.”
"This phase of our training has provided great experience, while being involved an operation that makes a positive impact on Australia-Indonesia relations and contributes to the protection of the maritime environment."
AUSINDO CORPAT is a coordinated patrol between Australia and Indonesia, with each country patrolling its side of the shared border between the exclusive economic zones of the two nations to target illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activity along with other maritime threats.
For more information visit the Navy Website HMAS Wollongong