HMAS Sirius conducted some impressive gymnastics in late January when alongside Fleet Base West, in order to make critical repairs prior to sailing.
An unusual sight greeted everyone who arrived at Fleet Base West for work on a Friday in late January.
As they travelled along the causeway to HMAS Stirling, those with an untrained eye would have concluded that HMAS Sirius appeared to be sinking.
Those on board the replenishment ship knew it was all part of an elaborate evolution which enabled repairs to be conducted to the starboard side bow thruster grate.
Just two days prior, the crew had been informed that the detached bow thruster grate was to be repaired prior to departure from the wharf.
Sirius was scheduled to sail a week later to become the flagship for the 182nd Royal Hobart Regatta, an event which the Royal Australian Navy has supported with the attendance of a ship every year for decades.
Only one feasible solution was available at such short notice to make the critical repair, which was to ballast Sirius in such a way that the bow thruster was entirely out of the water, so that the repairs could be undertaken above water.
“Sirius is a unique ship with the ability in its cargo and ballast system to undertake such an impressive operation,” Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Commander Michael Langeveld, said.
Lieutenant Commander Langeveld had only posted on board Sirius a few weeks prior to the repair operation.
Many other local ships jokingly offering their assistance to the “stranded” Sirius, with offers of pumps coming in thick and fast.
The repair was undertaken over the weekend, with the ship returning to a normal trim, with all repairs compete, before it was time to sail.
The entire ship, in particular the engineering department, should be very proud of their impressive achievement, especially given the complexity and short time frame.