Goodbye to Brunei, more challenges await

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Des Paroz (author), ABIS Tom Gibson (photographer)

Location(s): Cairns

HMA Ships Brunei (left), Tarakan (centre) and Labuan conduct a final beaching exercise on Cowley Beach, Far North Queensland in July 2014. (photo: ABIS Tom Gibson)
HMA Ships Brunei (left), Tarakan (centre) and Labuan conduct a final beaching exercise on Cowley Beach, Far North Queensland in July 2014.

Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Nicolas Krelle has mixed emotions about the upcoming decommissioning of Landing Craft Heavy HMAS Brunei.

"I’ve been in Brunei since 2012, and am proud to be part of the ship’s decommissioning crew.

"The best part is the tight family-like crew that relies on each other to get the job done.

“I will be sad to see the LCHs decommissioned, but proud to have had a chance to serve on them,” Able Seaman Krelle said.

Able Seaman Krelle, currently Brunei’s survival equipment maintainer, will take up a new posting in Sydney after the ship decommissions.

Having grown up on the NSW South Coast at Culburra Beach, Able Seaman Krelle has always enjoyed the coastal lifestyle, especially when he gets a chance to go surfing.

"Whenever I get to go home I look forward to getting some waves, and just hanging with my family and friends.

“Moving to Sydney means that I will be closer to home,” Able Seaman Krelle said.

Members of HMAS Brunei's fire party Able Seaman Nicolas Krelle (left) and Able Seaman Alexander Kos conduct a door entry into the ships laundry during a damage control exercise.

Members of HMAS Brunei's fire party Able Seaman Nicolas Krelle (left) and Able Seaman Alexander Kos conduct a door entry into the ships laundry during a damage control exercise.

Although the departure of the LCH will mark the end of an important chapter in the Royal Australian Navy’s history, Able Seaman Krelle is excited about the possibility of one day joining the next generation of Navy’s amphibious capability.

"I’d like to do amphib again and the Landing Helicopter Dock ships will be completely different to an LCH, so it would be something completely new,” Able Seaman Krelle said.

The Landing Craft have provided nearly 40 years of essential service to communities in Australia and the Pacific.  Their versatility as a medium sea lift vessel has provided much of the logistics support to Australian Defence Force operations in Bougainville, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

They also supported Operation RESOLUTE and in Australia’s time of need, were deployed to help in the aftermath of Cyclones Yasi and Tracy.

The Navy’s remaining Landing Craft will be decommissioned at a ceremony at HMAS Cairns on 19 November 2014.