HMAS Arunta’s marine technicians have been praised for their ingenuity and resilience in repairing one of the ship’s forecastle doors, with the initial work undertaken when the door was damaged during a storm while at sea.

The marine technicians fitted a temporary door during the severe storm in the South China Sea in October, then made permanent repairs once the ship came alongside in Sasebo, Japan.

Marine engineer officer Lieutenant Commander Joshua Fearnley said the repair wasn’t as simple as taking the damaged door out and putting a new one in.

“Given the amount of damage sustained to the door and its surroundings, a whole new door coaming needed to be fitted before the new door could be installed,” Lieutenant Commander Fearnley said.

“This meant cutting out sections of hull plating that were buckled from the incident and welding in new sections of steel before installing the replacement coaming and door.

“Obviously, the job had to be carried out to a very high standard to restore the ship’s structural integrity and be watertight.”

The ship’s fabrication team worked around the clock to replace the door in time for the ship’s scheduled departure date.

Team leader Leading Seaman Joshua Wilson said the job, while challenging, was extremely rewarding because it meant the ship could continue operations.

“This was a rare opportunity for us to conduct a weld repair on the ship’s hull plating,” Leading Seaman Wilson said.

“Despite the difficulties of the task, we made the repairs and the ship was able to carry on with its mission.”

Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta Commander Troy Duggan said he was proud of the engineering department and the quality of the work.

“In the context of a global pandemic and being 7000km from our home port, being able to be self-sufficient and conduct our own repairs and maintenance is essential,” he said.

“The success of the repair work is a testament to the professionalism and skill of our sailors, and I congratulate each one of them on a job well done.”

Upon sailing from Sasebo, Arunta took part in Operation Argos, supporting international efforts to enforce United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea by monitoring and deterring ship-to-ship transfers of sanctioned goods.

The ship will return to her home port of Fleet Base West, Western Australia, later this year.