Aussie Sailors rendezvous with the Royal Navy in the Middle East
22 January 2015
HMAS Success conducted a Replenishment at Sea (RAS) with HMS Kent of the Royal Navy (RN) on Saturday 10 Jan 15.
Success is in the Middle East Region for Operation MANITOU, providing logistical support for coalition navy ships as part of Combined Task Force 53. This is only thesecond time the Royal Australian Navy has had an oil tanker in the area. Success was last deployed to the Gulf of Aden in 1991, 24 years ago.
Having a logistic support ship in the region enables the other ships on patrol to stay at sea for longer periods, by eliminating the need for them to return to port for food, stores, fuel and other supplies. This was Success’ third RAS since being force assigned to Joint Task Force 633 on 14 Dec 14 and the lucky receivers were our close friends the Brits.
The Royal Australian Navy shares many traditions with the RN and has a strong and enduring working relationship. Evolutions like these help to maintain and further strengthen communication and interoperability between the two navies.
Leading Seaman (LS) Marine Technician Joel Minichiello, from Randwick in Sydney, operates in the Cargo Control Room during a RAS to drive the fuelling rig across from Success to the receiving ship.
He posted onto the battle tanker in March 2012 and is now training to be the Rig I/C. His role involves guiding the probe into the bell mouth of the receiving ship, monitoring the rig tension and pressure for the entirety of the fuelling evolution and adjusting the slack in the hose to ensure everything works efficiently.
LS Minichiello has moved from working down in the engine room during a RAS and says it’s nice to see what is actually happening above the water.
‘Working with the Poms, is always a bit more relaxed and a good opportunity for a laugh,’ LS Minichiello said.
As is customary during a RAS, the two ships play music to each other via loud speakers.
With typical Aussie humour, Success’ Ship’s Company selected marching music, the Beatles and other British bands from the 60’s through to the modern day.
The RAS lasted for approximately 1 hour and Success transferred almost 150cz of fuel to the Duke Class, Type 23 Frigate. The Commanding Officer HMS Kent, Commander Andrew Block, RN, described the exchange as very smart, professional and entertaining.
‘It was by far the most enjoyable RAS we have had in months,’ he said as they pulled away after the RAS completed.
Success is deployed on Op MANITOU until May and has many other RAS evolutions lined up with the various nations within the region as part of the Combined Maritime Forces. Having an Australian ship working so frequently with our coalition partners will play a vital role in strengthening our communication and interoperability with them.
Success is contributing to antiterrorism and antismuggling operations while in the Middle East by means of boardings but providing logistics support to coalition ships remains her primary tasking.