A Chinese puzzle solved

Published on CPL Mark Doran (author and photographer)

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Maritime Technician Yu Su maintains electrical equipment while deployed aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.  (photo: Corporal Mark Doran)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Maritime Technician Yu Su maintains electrical equipment while deployed aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.

Since leaving his birthplace of China this sailor has excelled in his career with the Royal Australian Navy.

Leading Seaman Maritime Technician Yu Su is onboard HMAS Melbourne and is responsible for the warship’s power generation and distribution.

Melbourne
is patrolling the Middle East region on Operation MANITOU, Australia’s contribution to the multinational Combined Maritime Forces.

The ship is operating in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf with Combined Task Force 150, whose mission is to intercept shipments of illegal drugs used to help fund terrorism.

Leading Seaman Su came to Australia in 2002 to finish his Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and finished his post-graduate studies at Wollongong University in 2004.

While looking for work he became interested in working for Defence and decided to try something different by joining the Navy in 2007.

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Maritime Technician Yu Su maintains electrical equipment while deployed aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.

Royal Australian Navy sailor Leading Seaman Maritime Technician Yu Su maintains electrical equipment while deployed aboard HMAS Melbourne, which is patrolling in the Middle East region as part of Operation Manitou.



Leading Seaman Su said the lifestyle of the Navy suits him well.

“I get along well with the other sailors,” he said.

“When I finished my recruit training I became an Australian citizen.”

Leading Seaman Su worked on the heavy landing craft HMAS Betano and was based in Darwin for three years before transferring to Melbourne in 2010.

Leading Seaman Su said he was on his third deployment to the Middle East region on Melbourne.

“Although my main role is as the ship’s electrician, I also love my secondary role as a member of the boarding party,” he said.

“I had put my hand up for the boarding party on every deployment and I have finally been accepted.”

Leading Seaman Su said he enjoys working on the frontline.

“It is an exciting job, it can be hard and fast-paced, but I believe that’s why we are here on our mission in the Gulf,” he said.

“Operation MANITOU mission is to disrupt terrorists’ funding and supply networks, so I see it as a way to potentially save a lot of lives.”

On Melbourne’s first patrol of 2015, the crew intercepted, boarded and searched a fishing dhow suspected of illegal activity in the Arabian Sea.

During the search 427kg of heroin was seized and brought onboard for identification and disposal.

The value of the drugs was close $127M AUD.

Leading Seaman Su said there was a very strong bond between the crew and command teams in Melbourne.

“At first I was nervous about being accepted by the other sailors and was not sure if I would fit-in, but I now know if something goes pear-shaped, there will be always someone ready to back me up,” he said.

“I still have a language barrier, however I have been working hard over the last seven years and my English has improved significantly.

“I am grateful for the trust given to me by Australia as the nation that allows me to pursue my career.

“Navy has given me many opportunities for self-development and I have a positive view of my career and my life.

“My long-term goal is to gain a Commission, although I imagine the lifestyle in the Wardroom will be very different to that in a junior sailors' mess.”