Engineer manager Jose Luis Bouza Fernandex  can be proud of the role he played in preparing the crew of HMAS Supply for their first sea trials.

Mr Fernandez spent the past six months preparing and training the crew to take over the Navy’s newest and first auxiliary oiler replenishment ship.

Leading Seaman Jackson Setter said the period working with Mr Fernandez in Perth last year during the fit-out, sea trials and transit to Sydney, was critical to Supply's successful transition into service. 

“Working with Jose reinforces how important the relationship with Defence industry is and the value that brings to Navy,” Leading Seaman Setter said.

“The way Jose and other industry representatives helped us with the transition made the process seamless and ensured we were ready to get the most out of this really powerful capability.”

Leading Seaman Setter said if not for the guidance and expertise provided by Mr Fernandez, the crew would not be as confident facing the trials.

“Jose is the subject matter expert for all the systems on board,” Leading Seaman Setter said.

“He has been the invaluable go-to person for every single crew member and we honestly would not be where we are without him. His knowledge is impeccable.”

That knowledge has been built through generations of the Fernandez family, with Mr Fernandez working for the same ship building company for 38 years’ and his father and grandfather also working for the same company.

“For me this is the life. I love working and I love working with the Navy,” Mr Fernandez said.

It is not the first time Mr Fernandez has worked with the Navy to bring a new capability online. 

For the past seven years he has helped the crews of HMA Ships Canberra and Hobart and has now embedded in NUSHIP Stalwart to help prepare the crew for the ship's introduction to service. 

“Working with the Australian Navy is like working with family,” Mr Fernandez said.

“Every time I leave a ship it is difficult it's like leaving a child behind. I will miss the Supply crew. I would have stayed with the vessel longer if I could.”

Mr Fernandez is employed through the  Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment Ship Support Program Office which was jointly formed with Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group and Navantia Australia.