NUSHIP Canberra’s Ship’s Company walked hundreds of kilometres over the past month, familiarising themselves with the Navy’s newest platform.
Twelve decks high and 230 metres in length, the ship’s company have had a taste of how big the learning curve is and how fit they need to be to navigate around the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD), the largest ship ever built for Navy.
One of the most important preparations for Canberra’s ship’s company is getting ready to take responsibility for the safety and security of ship the day it is handed over to Defence from the contractors.
Canberra’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jonathan Sadleir, said the training that took place while the ship was in commercial dry dock in Sydney was used to maximum effect.
“We had our first four duty watch teams conduct three intensive weeks of training onboard which included damage control, ship familiarisation, and security training specific to LHDs,” Captain Sadleir said.
“I was impressed with the way the teams went about their training. Members from all ranks contributed to the learning outcomes from Seaman through to Commander, and we have taken that information and applied it.
“Having access to the ship for these three weeks was an important part of the learning journey for ship’s company. It enabled us to make assessments regarding how we will structure the Duty Watches and carry out damage control practices onboard,” Captain Sadleir said.
Duty watch is the term used for the team of people who look after the ship while it’s in harbour. This team is responsible for the initial responses for any incident onboard and the safety and security of the ship and personnel while alongside.
Deputy Marine Engineering Officer, Lieutenant Jazz Kastaniotis, coordinated the training for duty watches.
“The training included damage control walk throughs and exercises covering fire, flood and gas detector alarm response. It also included training in force protection, ceremonial training and general ship’s familiarisation,” Lieutenant Kastaniotis said.
“Most days, members of Duty Watch were walking up to 15 kilometres, up and down 12 decks of stairwells to familiarise themselves with different areas of the ship.
“If we need to deal with any incident onboard – the teams have to know how to get to that part of the ship immediately, and that is why the training is so critical, particularly on such a large and brand new platform.
“The teams are also learning a brand new philosophy of damage control. This is due to the range of fixed damage control systems available, so there is a lot for our Duty Watch teams to learn while also honing the traditional damage control skills that we always need to maintain,” she said.
In addition, all ship’s company members conducted Departmental ship’s familiarisation including the completion of a comprehensive induction book.
After a hull clean and paint, Canberra has now departed Sydney to continue contractor sea trials. These trials will include a set of propulsion, speed and endurance trials on the way back to Melbourne.
Canberra is returning to Williamstown to prepare for the final phase of harbour and sea trials, focussing on the ship’s communication and combat system equipment.
Press Release, April 14, 2014; Image: Australian Navy