The Royal Australian Navy’s hard working replenishment oiler HMAS Sirius is taking on 2014 with the same gusto she used to conquer 2013.
A circumnavigation of Australia, a visit to South East Asia, three major exercises, two operations, 32 replenishments at sea (liquid) and the promotion of 21 of its company were just some of the major highlights for Sirius last year.
With a scheduled maintenance period approaching before she departs to support operations, 2014 is certain to be another busy year for the 60 strong Ship’s Company.
In 2013, Sirius’ relatively small crew delivered whatever was asked of them, setting records along the way. Of Sirius’ 32 Replenishment at Sea (Liquid) – RAS(L) – evolutions, nine were with ships of allied navies, including United States Navy ships USS Bonhomme Richard and USS Yukon, and the Royal Navy’s HMS Illustrious.
Two of the RAS(L) evolutions conducted were the largest in the history of the Royal Australian Navy with over 28,000cz of fuel was delivered in total. The largest evolution delivered almost 10,000cz of fuel and took over 12 hours – a record for the RAN.
Boatswains Mate Able Seaman Ben Reace reflected on working with the US Navy as one of his highlights for the year.
“We got to play with the US Navy and RAS with the Bonhomme Richard,” he said, “the fact that we got to go around Australia and visit Singapore and Pulau Tioman made it a pretty cool year.”
With the high operational tempo Sirius achieved its training objectives last year for competency completion and the individual readiness goals of all personnel. Ship’s Warrant Officer (SWO), Warrant Officer (WO) Andrew Bertoncin is confident last year’s training efforts will be reproduced this year.
“While the program was challenging, the ability to focus on training and the resulting training qualifications achieved by Sirius’ people was a highlight of 2013,” said Warrant Officer Andrew Bertoncin.
Many of Sirius’ people got the opportunity to advance their careers, with 21 personnel promoted during the year, including 11 Seaman advancing to Able Seaman, two advancing to Leading Seaman, one advancing to Petty Officer and one to Chief Petty Officer.
The hardworking team of Sirius knows how to work and play well together. Regular sporting events such as Speed Ball on the flight deck were coupled with events like CO for a Day and Melbourne Cup celebrations, as well as opportunities to visit various ports around Australia and South East Asia.
Communication and Information Systems sailor Leading Seaman (LS) Lauren Adamson was enthusiastic about the opportunity provided by these visits.
“Spending time in Sydney is always good; you get to see the other half of the Fleet and catch-up with friends you joined up with,” LS Adamson said, “the highlight, however, was the spontaneous opportunities where everyone gets together and hangs out.”
The ship’s company selected Beyond Blue as Sirius’s charity and purely from gold coin donations alone, the crew managed to raise $1475 in 2013.