HMAS Sirius critical to success of international maritime exercises

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Tanalee Smith (author), LSIS Christopher Szumlanski (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Sirius (A266), Exercise RIMPAC

HMAS Sirius conducts a Replenishment at Sea with HMAS Stuart and JS Ise as they sail in company through the southern waters of Hawaii as part of Exercise RIMPAC 2020. (photo: LSIS Christopher Szumlanski)
HMAS Sirius conducts a Replenishment at Sea with HMAS Stuart and JS Ise as they sail in company through the southern waters of Hawaii as part of Exercise RIMPAC 2020.

HMAS Sirius has proven invaluable during her current international deployment, not only to the Australian ships in the Task Group but to multiple partner nations who have benefited from the reliable and efficient replenishment support that Australia’s only tanker provides.

The replenishment oiler has refuelled ships from Japan, Singapore, Canada, Singapore, South Korea and the United States, during the Regional Presence Deployment through Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Commander Sam Woolrych, Sirius’ Commanding Officer, said the team had been particularly busy during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020, where Sirius was one of two tankers providing support.

“There are 22 ships from 10 nations participating in RIMPAC, and we have shown our value in helping to keep these ships fuelled and resourced so they can complete the exercises.

“With this year’s RIMPAC being an all-at-sea exercise due to COVID-19 precautions, it is even more critical that replenishment tankers like Sirius are here to support so all participating ships can get the most training from the exercise,” Commander Woolrych said.

Sub Lieutenant Nicholas Seton, Assistant Maritime Engineering Officer, said the ship was living up to its motto of “To Serve and Provide”.

“It is clear that Sirius is providing essential support across the Task Group to all nations involved,” Sub Lieutenant Seton said.

“It’s been interesting to work with other countries, and every nation operates slightly differently. This deployment has shown us that despite slight differences in how we do business, all the RIMPAC nations trust and respect each other, and it is amazing to see how smoothly and safely Sirius can refuel ships from any partner nation.”

The Royal Australian Navy’s underway replenishment ships are crucial to overseas deployments, offering operational support for the fleet by providing fuel, stores and ammunition and significantly extending the Navy’s operational reach and endurance at sea.

Captain Phillipa Hay, Commander of the Australian Maritime Task Group and Commander of Task Force One at RIMPAC, said Sirius was the true lifeblood of RIMPAC.

“RIMPAC’s replenishment ships Sirius and USNS Henry J Kaiser demonstrate our ability to sustain a force at sea, which sets us apart from other maritime forces from around the world,” Captain Hay said.

HMA Ships HobartStuartArunta and Sirius left Australia in June on a Regional Presence Deployment throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

They participated in RIMPAC along with forces from Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States.

Participating forces are conducting a wide range of capabilities including anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations and live-fire training events.

Imagery for RIMPAC 2020 is available for viewing/download from the Navy Image Library.