The management and operation of refuelling services at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin were this month handed back to Navy personnel from contractors.

The move is part of an ongoing transformation of the base and the Larrakeyah Defence Precinct.

Commanding Officer Coonawarra Commander Moses Raudino said he was pleased to be able to sign off on the handover from the previously contracted workforce. 

“The Defence Fuelling Installation is a key capability that ensures Navy is ready to respond to tasking at a moment’s notice,” he said.

“The complete control of our fuelling evolutions ‘in-house’ so to speak, is part of providing comprehensive service and support to HMA Ships at our establishment.

“Fuel operations and logistics is administered by the Fuel Services Branch as a joint ADF capability. 

“It is important for this handover that we meet all the requirements set out in the policy and governance to keep our people and platforms safe.”

Chief Petty Officer Peter Strzelecki leads the fuelling team.

 “We kicked off by filling up HMAS Ararat with a fresh 28,780 litres of marine diesel as soon as it came alongside,” Chief Petty Officer Peter Strzeleck said.

“It was the first fuelling evolution at Coonawarra conducted end to end by uniformed Navy personnel with our complete new team.

“These additional billets ashore (land-based jobs) ensure that uniformed personnel are providing a high quality service to our ships that is always available, even on weekends or after hours when it would be difficult to quickly get a contractor in.

“Increased billets ashore also offer our people up here respite from back-to-back sea postings as part of the new Navy Workforce Generation System reset phase.”

Coonawarra conducts more than 200 fuelling evolutions per year on average, depending on the operational tempo of local and visiting navy fleet units.