Two of Navy’s senior leaders visited HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin recently to recognise the work of the patrol boat community this year.
Commander Maritime Border Command, Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, presented HMAS Maryborough with a Group Commendation, while Warrant Officer of the Navy Warrant Officer Deb Butterworth spent four days at sea on patrol boats.
WO-N Butterworth said she wanted to better understand the conditions patrol boat crews work in.
“The work is relentless and challenging, but vitally important to protect Australia's national interests in the maritime domain.
“Our people support this operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” she said.
“People are our highest priority, and the crews here have my highest respect and gratitude.
“I want to thank the all for what they do for our nation and for the dedication and teamwork they display every day to achieve this mission.
“Everyone in Navy and Australia appreciates the work the patrol boats do,” WO-N Butterworth said.
The newly promoted WO-N Butterworth said Navy was working to create more positions ashore in the patrol boat community and a better work-life balance.
She promised an exciting 2020.
“Additional positions have now been established in areas such as Port Services and within the Boatswain’s party.
“This work is not complete yet, but this will generate greater workforce depth, particularly in Darwin.
“The creation of new shore positions, and the drawing closer of the Arafura class Offshore Patrol Vessel entering service, means 2020 promises to be an exciting year,” WO-N Butterworth said.
WO-N Butterworth attended the award ceremony for Maryborough at which Rear Admiral Goddard presented a Group Commendation to ship's company for their quick actions when a fire broke out in the main engine room on 25 May 2017.
“Confronted with a potentially catastrophic event, which could have resulted in the loss of the ship, the prompt application of appropriate and effective emergency procedures by all personnel embarked ensured there was no loss of life or serious injury and damage to the ship was minimised and contained,” the Commendation reads.
Patrols Boats are the primary enabler of the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to Operation RESOLUTE, which is a whole of government effort to protect Australia's borders and offshore interests.
At any one time, up to 800 Australian Defence Force personnel at sea, in the air and on the land, are working to protect Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests.
They work alongside personnel from Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and other agencies.