HMAS Leeuwin has spent two weeks conducting intensive training and evaluation in beautiful weather off Mission Beach, 140km south of Cairns, in preparation for operational taskings later this year.
The training follows a major maintenance period in June, when the ship slipped at Tropical Reef Shipyard for over eight weeks.
Maritime Geospatial Officer – Hydrographic Lieutenant Leigh Guilmartin said the crew had welcomed the opportunity to get back on the water to test their mariner and hydrographic survey skills, including ship handling, damage control, machinery breakdowns and survey and geospatial data collection by both the ship and her embarked survey boats.
“It has been really enjoyable to conduct this training so close to home – a lot of us have travelled to Mission Beach previously, but it isn’t every day that you get to visit somewhere like Dunk Island for work.”
Lieutenant Leigh Guilmartin added that conducting survey work ashore was a great opportunity to interact with the Mission Beach and Dunk Island locals.
“We also validated an area which will be useful for future pre-survey equipment checks, allowing us to ensure our equipment is working exactly how it should before we conduct surveys for chart development,” he said.
The training will lay the groundwork for future survey tasks, both in Australia and overseas, with Leeuwin having completed multiple visits to Pacific neighbours throughout 2019 and early 2020, including the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Timor Leste, and Vanuatu.
Leeuwin Commanding Officer Commander Matthew Richardson, said that the crew’s preparation, training and enthusiasm allowed them to respond effectively to the complex training scenarios.
“The pre-workup training undertaken earlier in the year has been evident, particularly through the damage control and multi-scenario exercises. Everything that was thrown at the team was taken in their stride and they have improved and improved throughout the entire process,” Commander Richardson said.
“It has been great to see the camaraderie of the team shine through even the most complex and challenging evolutions and I am proud of their achievements. I look forward to what the remainder of the year will bring.”
HMAS Leeuwin returned to her homeport in Cairns after unit readiness evaluation for a short maintenance period and is expected to deploy again in September.