Navy continues strong presence on the North West Shelf

Published on LEUT Kara Wansbury (author), LSIS James Whittle (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Ballarat (F155), HMAS Toowoomba (F156), HMAS Success (OR 304)

HMAS Toowoomba conducts a Replenishment at Sea with HMAS Success. (photo: LSIS James Whittle)
HMAS Toowoomba conducts a Replenishment at Sea with HMAS Success.

A trio of warships recently conducted a patrol of the North West Shelf Oil and Gas Fields as part of the Australian Government's Border Protection Operations. HMA Ships Success, Ballarat and Toowoomba tested communications, procedures and protocols between Coastwatch, Defence assets and oil and gas installations during the patrol.

Commanding Officer of HMAS Toowoomba, Commander Cath Hayes said these patrols highlight the strategic importance of the region to Australia.

“These patrols are important demonstrations of the interoperability that exists between Defence, Coastwatch and the oil and gas installations. Regular patrols of these areas ensure we are prepared for any contingencies.

“As a part of Australian Government’s maritime security framework we safeguard these off-shore facilities,” Commander Hayes said.

While demonstrating their presence in the area HMA Ships Success and Toowoomba also conducted a Replenishment at Sea evolution, during which Toowoomba received fuel from Success while underway. Commander Hayes said it was the first time Success and Toowoomba had operated together in over five years and provided an outstanding training opportunity for both crews.

“The Replenishment at Sea evolution is a real team effort, with the whole ship focused on their individual tasks, as well as the collective task; be it manoeuvring the ship safely in close proximity to the other ship, handling the lines which transfer the fuelling hose rig between the two ships or controlling the transfer of large quantities fuel between the two units,” she said.

This was the second patrol of the North West Shelf area by major fleet unit this year with HMAS Sirius having conducted a similar patrol in January. The simultaneous presence of this trio of Major Fleet Units has ably demonstrated the Royal Australian Navy’s strong ongoing commitment to the security of the North West Shelf oil and gas fields.

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at