Bundaberg unites family in the Torres Strait

Published on SBLT R Austin-Eames (author)

Location(s): Thursday Island, Torres Strait

Topic(s): HMAS Bundaberg (II)

Able Seaman Godfrey Bero and his family onboard HMAS Bundaberg in the Torres Strait Islands. (photo: )
Able Seaman Godfrey Bero and his family onboard HMAS Bundaberg in the Torres Strait Islands.

Patrol boat sailor and Torres Strait Islander, Godfrey Bero took a rare opportunity to visit family and friends enroute to border protection operations in Australia’s northern waters.

As a member of ARDENT TWO, embarked in HMAS Bundaberg, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Bero was fortunate to play host and welcome his family members aboard the Armidale Class Patrol Boat.

Commanding Officer, ARDENT TWO Lieutenant Alfonso Santos said the idea was seeded months ago.

“HMAS Bundaberg is based in Cairns, along with another three of the Navy’s 14 Armidale Class Patrol Boats,” he said.

“We navigate the Torres Strait every time we deploy on maritime border security operations.

“It’s a rare opportunity but fortunately on this occasion we were able to spare a couple of hours and lay anchor at Thursday Island.”

Able Seaman Bero said the visit was a once in a lifetime opportunity to share his naval experience with friends and family.

“It was great to show them what life is really like in a Navy patrol boat,” he said.

“I think they’re very proud”.

Joining Able Seaman Bero in the crew of ARDENT TWO is fellow indigenous member Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Kaleb Cohen, grandson of the late Mr Eddie Koiki Mabo.

Lieutenant Santos said both members enthralled the rest of the crew with their stories of traditional island life and customs.

“It’s wonderful to have that diversity in the crew,” he said.

“It adds value and reward to what we’re doing each and everyday on border security operations.”

Able Seaman Bero joined the Navy in 2011 as a Recruit Boatswains Mate and is the first in his family to join the Royal Australian Navy.

He comes from the St Paul's Community on Moa Island who are traditionally the Mualgal people. After initial training Able Seaman Bero was posted to naval base, HMAS Cairns and is now in a permanent billet as part of patrol boat crew ARDENT TWO.

Able Seaman Bero said he loves the lifestyle in Cairns and all it has to offer his family.

“My wife and three boys love the tropics and we are very proud to have recently purchased our own home in Cairns,” he said.

Up to seven of the Royal Australian Navy’s Armidale Class Patrol Boats operating from Darwin and Cairns are deployed at sea at any one time, conducting maritime border security operations for Operation Resolute in Australia’s northern waters.

The patrol boats and their crew of 21 provide surveillance and response to counter eight distinct maritime threats including; terrorism, people smuggling, illegal fishing, prohibited imports and exports, quarantine risks, pollution and piracy.

 

Able Seaman Kaleb Cohen and Able Seaman Bero onboard HMAS Bundaberg in Darwin.

Able Seaman Kaleb Cohen and Able Seaman Bero onboard HMAS Bundaberg in Darwin.

Additional imagery is available at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130731.