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Maritime Logistics Community News : November 2009
27 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SPRING 2009 After finishing Unit Readiness Evaluation (URE) and Mission Readiness Evaluation (MRE), TOOWOOMBA’s officers and crew departed Fleet Base West (FBW) for the ship’s second deployment to the Middle East. On 21 June 2009, TOOWOOMBA relieved HMAS WARRAMUNGA as the RAN’s contribution to OPERATION SLIPPER. In the last few years, ships deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) have, operated in the North Arabian Gulf (NAG), Central Arabian Gulf and South Arabian Gulf. However, TOOWOOMBA’s tasking, as a result of new Government policy and a significantly increased Area of Operations which now extends from the NAG to Seychelles and from the Red Sea to Pakistan, sees the RAN moving into the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman (GOO), Gulf of Aden (GOA) and the waters off the Horn of Africa (HOA). These are areas that could impact on the ease, quality and level of logistical support available to HMA Ships operating in the MEAO now and into the future. The Arabian Gulf, the traditional ‘hunting ground’ of RAN Major Fleet Units (MFUs), allowed those same units to receive prompt logistical support from ashore, either during a port visit (with little off-station transit time), or from the Desert Hawk (a US forces rotary wing asset). The Desert Hawk, which traditionally conducted three weekly runs delivering passengers, cargo and mail to Coalition forces throughout the Arabian Gulf, enabled RAN MFUs to embark stores and mail whilst remaining on patrol, thus enhancing the ship’s on station time, logistics capability and onboard supply support. Ports traditionally visited by RAN MFUs, such as Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, already have mature logistic arrangements in place to facilitate the movement of stores and mail with access to deeper level maintenance support. The logistic support in these ports was underpinned by the outstanding service provided by RANLO Bahrain’s (LCDR Mick Slattery) organisation during the first half of our current deployment. Since sailing from FBW on 08 June 2009, TOOWOOMBA has visited Diego Garcia, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi (UAE), Muscat (Oman), Salalah (Oman), Karachi (Pakistan) and Jebel Ali (Dubai, UAE). Of note is the fact that TOOWOOMBA is only the second RAN ship to have visited Karachi in the past nineteen years with WARRAMUNGA the first, when she visited Karachi as part of a large exercise group visit. TOOWOOMBA was the first bilateral arrangement with the Pakistani Navy since the 1980s. As TOOWOOMBA is now about to move down to the GOA and HOA, the ship’s supply team and RANLO Bahrain will face a number of new and interesting logistical challenges. These include the supply of provisions (including loading out/pre-positioning of provisions in Coalition support ships for Replenishment at Sea Vertical Replenishment (RAS VERTREP)) and the sourcing of mail, Urgent Defect stores (URDEFs) and Urgent Express Delivery (UED) items. In the absence of a mature logistics plan and in order to assist future RAN MFUs deployed in support of OP SLIPPER, a proposal has been submitted by the Supply Officer TOOWOOMBA (LCDR Darrell Stratton) and LCDR Mick Slattery to implement a broad range of suggestions including the following: a. DIPCLEAR coordination for certain countries bordering the GOO, GOA and HOA; b. Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA)/Memorandum Of Understanding/ Agreement (MOU/A) negotiation/implementation with adjacent countries; c. Refinement of standing offers/contracts to cover provedore type companies in adjacent countries (as required); d. Mutual Logistic Support Agreements (MLSA) with certain Coalition countries operating in the MEAO to provide underway support; and e. Regular RAAF and chartered sustainment flights into countries adjacent to the revised AO. The implementation of these ideas, if deemed worthwhile and achievable, will require close liaison with Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 (HQJTF 633), Joint Logistics Command (JLC), Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC), as well as a myriad of organisations involved in international policy. Further to this, the requirement to grow standing offers and contracts with traditional suppliers, while still providing a high level of support, will present an additional challenge. While changes in our new and bigger AO will have a major impact on our logistic support, the challenge for the next three months will be to ensure the ship receives and provides the right level of support and that TOOWOOMBA’s experiences and lessons learned are properly captured and passed on. In the meantime, the Supply Department of HMAS TOOWOOMBA will maintain their commitment to delivering the highest standard of operational logistic support. Gettin’ Your Booty (Logistic Support) in Djibouti As the recent recipients of the Silver Platter award for 2008, the Supply Department of HMAS TOOWOOMBA (CMDR I.M . Ingham, RAN) have been working hard to maintain a similarly high standard in 2009. BY LEUT KIRSTIE GUNN-BROCKHOFF, RAN THE RN MERLIN ON HMAS TOOWOOMBA’S FLIGHT DECK