The Replenishment at Sea evolution involves the transfer of fuel from a supply ship to a receiving ship. The refuelling evolution was completed as the ships maintained their focus on warfare activities, as part of Fleet Concentration Period East 15 (FCP East 15).
Commanding Officer of HMAS Canberra, Captain Chris Smith said he believed the two ships to be the largest Royal Australian Navy vessels to have ever undertaken a replenishment at sea together.
The refuelling evolution was a challenge for both the navigation and seamanship teams, as the two ships sailed within 60 metres of each other to complete the fuel transfer.
Chief Petty Officer Shand said he appreciated the opportunity to advance the ship’s capability.
“This is what we train for and it is great to be able to finally put it into practice,” Chief Petty Officer Shand said.
“This is not an easy task and it requires close communication with the navigation team, who are sailing the ship.”
Up on the bridge, Sub Lieutenant Ben Couch managed the challenge of navigating the course for the refuelling, while remaining mindful of the evolving scenario of the warfare exercise for FCP East 15.
“Having to coordinate multiple tasks is demanding, but this is why we train so extensively, to make sure we can conduct them professionally,” Sub Lieutenant Couch said.
“At the end of the day, the skills of our people and the capability of the ship need to be ready to respond to any situation the Government may require and sometimes that means doing two things at once.”
Canberra is the largest of twelve ships and submarines and three Navy aviation squadrons that are completing important task group training during FCP East 15.
The objective of the exercise is to assist in developing a fleet that is capable of multiple ship, Task Group level Joint Expeditionary Operations.