The crew of HMAS Leeuwin have used their recent visit to Timor-Leste and survey of Dili Harbour to provide training to officers and sailors from the Timor-Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL) as they prepare to take on two new Guardian Class Patrol Boats.
Leeuwin’s crew ran F-FDTL personnel through seamanship, damage control and firefighting training which will be vital to running the new vessels which Australia will gift Timor-Leste in 2023.
The training provided by Leeuwin’s crew was coordinated by two in-country Navy advisers Lieutenant Commander Mark Sorby and Chief Petty Officer Boatswain Marcus Effrett who have made the most of the visiting Australian warship to further practical training outcomes with the F-FDTL.
Training with experienced Australian crews allows the F-FDTL personnel to build confidence and practice important skills they will need on board their new vessels, but also provided a welcome opportunity for the Australian sailors to meet and work with their international counterparts.
Able Seaman Hydrographic Systems Operator Jessica Cafagna said the universal nature of basic seamanship skills meant she and her shipmates could train alongside their F-FDTL counterparts easily.
“It was great engaging with the Timor-Leste Defence Force sailors and to share our knowledge and experiences.
“Within maritime circles tying knots is a universal language,” Able Seaman Cafagna said.
Seaman Hydrographic Systems Operator Kerry Smart found that the opportunity to share knowledge with the F-FDTL personnel was a highlight of her first overseas port visit.
“I really enjoyed meeting the Timor-Leste sailors,” Seaman Smart said.
“They were all really friendly, and I enjoyed that I could help them practice their English skills while showing them around the ship.”
The Guardian Class Patrol Boat Project will see delivery of 23 boats to 13 of Australia’s Pacific neighbours, with the Royal Australian Navy providing training and support throughout the life of the project.
After leaving Dili, Leeuwin will continue her passage to Micronesia, before returning home to Cairns in August.