DMS Maritime support vessels are a familiar sight at many Navy bases, but not far out at sea. The DMS Maritime vessel Seahorse Standard sailed from Fleet Base West on 1 April to join search operations in the southern Indian Ocean, looking for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Seahorse Standard is equipped for visual search and salvage and has joined HMA Ships Success, Perth and Toowoomba and ADV Ocean Shield, as well as multi-national vessels in the search area.
Seahorse Standard’s regular 12-person crew has been augmented with 16 Royal Australian Navy members, led by Lieutenant Phillip Garrett.
Lieutenant Garrett, a Principal Warfare Officer who usually works onboard HMAS Newcastle, said the team is ready to provide additional support to the search.
“Our embarked clearance divers from Australian Clearance Dive Team 4 give us the ability to retrieve anything we might find on the surface, even if it’s too big or bulky to get by hand.
“We’ve also got two communicators who have been invaluable in squeezing the most out of Seahorse Standard’s communications equipment, two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat crews to support small boat operations and a chef to help keep everyone well fed.”
Seaman Communications Information Systems sailor Aaron Johnson found the challenge of keeping in touch with other ships and shore stations refreshing and enjoying.
“The communications equipment onboard is quite different to what I’m used to, but the principles remain the same,” he said.
“Coordination with all the ships participating in the search is vital and it’s a good chance to keep up my skills that I don’t get to practice ashore at Fleet Base West.”
Seahorse Standard entered the search area on 6 April and can remain on station for a month.
Press Release, April 9, 2014; Image: Australian Navy