Tanker pumping with new life

Published on LEUT Mark Taylor (author), LEUT Jake Leonard (photographer)

HMAS Arunta and HMAS Sirius conduct a Replenishment At Sea in the Eastern Australian Exercise Area. 
 (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
HMAS Arunta and HMAS Sirius conduct a Replenishment At Sea in the Eastern Australian Exercise Area.

HMAS Sirius is back out at sea doing what she does best, refuelling ships for the first time since February. After an extended period of maintenance, Sirius recently left Sydney bound for the East Australian Exercise Area (EAXA) with more than 12 million litres of fuel and sporting a fresh coat of paint.

However, before Sirius could return to operational duty, her ship's company had to complete a series of mariner competency evaluations in harbour and while underway.

The ship was assessed on damage control procedures, to deal with major machinery space fires and toxic hazards at sea, as well as boat drills, man overboard recovery and casualty management. 

A support team make a door entry to fight a simulated fire during Damage Control  training onboard HMAS Sirius.

A support team make a door entry to fight a simulated fire during Damage Control training onboard HMAS Sirius.

A critical test was a series of replenishment at sea approaches with the Anzac-class frigate HMAS Arunta which involved passing refuelling lines between the two ships as they travelled together.

Sirius' commanding officer Commander Darren Grogan said he was proud of the results his crew had achieved.  

“Due to the hard work of the crew and our support agencies ashore the transition back into operation has been smooth. 

"The ship has proven it is materially ready, while the crew is champing at the bit to prove their worth and return home to families and friends. We couldn’t have achieved what we have without the continued support of those holding the fort back home,” he said.

Petty Officer Peter Kenyon, coordinates the support team attack on a simulated fire during Damage Control training onboard HMAS Sirius.

Petty Officer Peter Kenyon, coordinates the support team attack on a simulated fire during Damage Control training onboard HMAS Sirius.

Like many of her crew, Able Seaman Boatswain's Mate Mary Palaamo is looking forward to returning Sirius to her home port in Fleet Base West, south of Perth.

“It’s really good to finally get back to sea," she said.

"It’s exciting getting the ship ready and it’s really great to rehash our safety procedures and make sure that we are safe and we are following the correct procedures.

“I’m really looking forward to getting home and I know the rest of the crew are as well. We are all excited that it’s getting closer after so many months away,” she said.

Sirius is on her way to Albany, Western Australia where she will join commemorations marking the departure of the first Anzac troop convoy to the First World War on 1 November 1914.