Australian Navy hydrographers test skills with offshore survey

Hydrographic Ship White conduct survey operations within vicinity of Maningrida, NT. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Members of a hydrographic team embarked on Australian Navy hydrographic survey vessel HMAS Melville recently helped an outback community ensure safe navigation for shipping.

The crew deployed on the first detached boat camp conducted for several years to test the detached Survey Motor Boat survey capability and to survey the Liverpool River approaches to Maningrida.

During the same period, Melville conducted an offshore survey to facilitate safe navigation for coastal shipping and to assist surveillance and patrol operations in Northern Australia.

Maningrida, an Aboriginal community in Western Arnhem Land, is a thriving community and community arts centre providing many of the essential services to the 30 satellite outstations in the region, including a regional airport with daily flights to Darwin.

Using survey motor boats Fantome and Meda, tidal gauges were deployed along the Liverpool River, the first step before commencing survey operations, and temporary moorings placed off the boat ramp to secure the survey motor boats to overnight.

The survey progressed over the next seven weeks, moving from the Maningrida boat ramp out towards the open waters of the Arafura Sea.

Numerous recreational sailing vessels traversing the top end of Australia were encountered and the three times weekly supply barge for the community provided excellent local intelligence on the patterns of life.

In return, they will directly benefit from the modern survey of the area undertaken by Melville and her survey motor boats.

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