On a ship at sea, the last thing the crew wants to hear is the sound of alarms ringing out throughout the decks.
Leading Seaman Marine Technician Blake Fulton works in the central control station on board HMAS Canberra and is part of the team whose job it is to look after the ships monitoring systems, identify what the alarm is and how to respond to it.
“From the CCS we can see system pressures, temperatures, fuels, all liquid states and our auxiliary systems like the potable and grey water,” Leading Seaman Fulton said.
“Although all the screens and monitors in the CCS show us what is happening, we have people physically doing rounds checking too.
“We monitor the whole plant and are the first responders to any alarms and are ready to pipe and dispatch people to investigate if an alarm sounds.”
Leading Seaman Fulton joined Navy in 2015 and said he joined for three reasons: to travel the world, get trade qualifications and to fix things.
As Canberra participates in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022, the world’s largest international maritime exercise, Leading Seaman Fulton is certainly ticking those boxes.
“Hawaii was a great place to visit. I enjoyed the snorkelling and beaches and got some hiking in. It has been a great trip,” Leading Seaman Fulton said.
Continuous training and ensuring the ship and capability of the crew is maintained is par for the course of life at sea and Leading Seaman Fulton has been training hard, running through worst case scenarios in the CCS and identifying how to resolve them.
“It’s been a busy time for me, I have been training and studying towards achieving my marine systems controller (MSC) qualification,” he said.
“It’s been hard work, lots of scenarios to run through, but worth it, thankfully I successfully completed the assessment and I’m now qualified to control the watch.
“I can now take responsibility for making sure the plant is safe and relay any information needed to the officer of the watch so they can maintain the command priorities.”
Leading Seaman Fulton has served in both landing helicopter docks (LHD), Adelaide and Canberra, and said although the ships are essentially the same there are some nuances.
“It’s good working between the two platforms as it’s an opportunity to transfer knowledge between the teams you work with on both ships."
Leading Seaman Fulton said his career highlights go right back to the reason he joined, ‘to fix things’ and said as an Marine Technician he likes having a job that contributes in a positive way to the ship and its crew.