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Maritime Logistics Community News : December 2008
NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SPRING 2008 43 HMAS MELBoURNE AT oP RESoLUTE BY ABWTR SHANE CLUBB On Christmas Eve MELBOURNE berthed in Darwin for a 6 hour logistics visit refuelling and embarking fresh fruit and vegetables. Sailing at 1500h MELBOURNE quietly slipped out to sea to commence Patrol II. Carols by Cylaume light was conducted on the flightdeck that evening and was hosted by CHAP Christine Senini and a guest appearance was made by Santa. MELBOURNE Ship’s Company awoke to the sounds of Jingle Bells on Christmas morning and the Senior Sailors provided breakfast for Ship’s Company under the supervision of POCK Shaun Taylor. A church service was conducted on the Flight Deck followed by a photo opportunity with Santa Claus and a whole ship Secret Santa. DURING THE DEPLOYMENT CMDR HUGHES, CO HMAS MELBOURNE (FAR RIGHT) HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH SEA PATROL STARS, LISA MCCUNE AND IAN STENLAKE On Thursday 5 December 2007 Commanding Officer HMAS MELBOURNE, CMDR Stephen Hughes along with his crew, departed Fleet Base East heading north to Darwin to commence an OP RESOLUTE deployment over the Christmas Period. It was an emotional day for some personnel leaving their young families for the first time, particularly over the Christmas period. MELBOURNE transited north at about 24 knots for most of the passage to Darwin, slowing twice to intern the ashes of former shipmates off the NSW and QLD coast. Arrival in Darwin on 11 Dec 07, saw the embarkation of HA Stores and fresh food and vegetables (FF&v) on board prior to Mission Readiness Evaluation (MRE) and the Command Team attended comprehensive mission briefings from NORCOM. Embarking STG and TSE (Tactical Security Element) on 12 Dec 07 heralded the commencement of MRE. MRE proved to be a particularly busy period for the whole ship, noting a large crew change out prior to deployment and the fact that MELBOURNE has not been on a deployment in two to three years. MRE was completed in two days finalising with weighing anchor and proceeded out to sea for the night for some night boardings. On Friday 14 Dec 07 MELBOURNE proceeded back to Darwin to INCHOP and enjoy a weekend of relaxation and enjoying the sights of Darwin. On 17 December 2007 MELBOURNE proceeded to sea to rendezvous with a customs vessel at Ashmore Reef and transfer of Potential Illegal Immigrants (PII’s). The transfer was conducted and MELBOURNE took custody of a young family of 4 personnel (father, mother and two young boys aged 3 and 4). Once the PII’s were onboard the ship then sailed for Christmas Island. The transit took three and a half days and the young children were kept occupied with colouring-in books, pencils and one member of the ship’s company provided a portable DvD player and movies for the young ones to watch. Once the PII’s were handed into the custody of Immigration Officials at Christmas Island (CI) MELBOURNE then proceeded back to Darwin. Passage back to Darwin saw Whole Ship Training activities, DCx’s, continuation training culminating with a “War Day” including Defence Messing. The day was concluded with a Steel Deck BBQ, a fashion parade of the newly acquired ship’s sports uniforms and raffles. Sunday 23 Dec 07 saw the Fleet Commander, RADM Nigel Coates, RAN and CWO-MC WO Simon Kelly embark from HMAS ARARAT (LCDR George MacKenzie) for the night. CHAP SENINI AND AB CLUBB WITH SANTA Christmas Lunch was surreal for those experiencing their first Christmas at sea with the CO and HODs’ serving lunch, Deputies and Senior LEUTs providing table service, bussing tables, providing drinks, even to the extent of serving the sailors ice cream. When a meal was completed officers would remove the dirty plates and cutlery to the scullery where the SBLTs and MIDN provided the Scullery Party. The afternoon was pretty laid back for all personnel. The Supply Department conducted their Secret Santa with the SO handing out the gifts, a FISHEx was held with quite a few keen fishermen having a go (with no luck). The evening ended with personnel doing their own thing but the general consensus throughout the ship that the first two patrols were very successful. We were fortunate when MELBOURNE made an unscheduled visit to Darwin in time for New Year’s Eve. The crew seemed to have all their tasks completed in quick time in preparation for seeing out the year in Darwin. A good time was enjoyed by all. However it was soon back to work for the ship’s final two weeks of RESOLUTE. Like every other week the crew went through DC and Ship’s Medical Emergency Team (SMET) training. The final visit to Darwin, on 12 January 2008, saw the departure of the advanced leave party who were to take the ship for the first week alongside in Sydney allowing respite for the rest of the crew. A quick visit saw the unloading of the HA stores and we sailed in the early afternoon. As we headed towards the Gulf of Carpentaria we met up with HMAS BROOME to conduct Officer of the Watch (OOW) manoeuvres. It was during the manoeuvres I noticed BROOME appeared to have two different pennant numbers however all became clear when I realised that BROOME is starring in the latest series of the Sea Patrol television series. After 6 weeks of being on deployment MELBOURNE was home safe and sound on 18 January 2008.