The Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Base West based operational tanker, HMAS Sirius, entered Sydney Harbour this week as part of a visit to Garden Island on the east coast.
At over 190m in length, and displacing more than 46,000 tonnes with a full load, Sirius is currently the largest ship in the Navy.
Originally built as a double-hulled commercial oil tanker, Sirius retains her Lloyd’s registration and must meet very specific refit and certification requirements to retain that rating.
Because of her size, the only facility that can accommodate her for the dry docking phase is the Captain Cook Graving Dock at Sydney’s Garden Island, the largest dry dock in the Southern Hemisphere.
Entering Sydney just after dawn on a brisk May morning, Sirius undertook several training and certification exercises before making her way up Sydney Harbour to Fleet Base East.
Visits to the east coast are special opportunity for many members of Sirius’ crew.
Able Seaman Michael Judge always looks forward to the opportunity to meet up with relatives on the eastern side of the country
“With the cost of flights these days, it is great to be in a job where we get to travel to all parts of Australia on a regular basis,” said AB Judge.
Other crew members, like Able Seaman Karol Mroz enjoy visiting Sydney for the convenience and variety of experiences on offer.
“At Fleet Base East we’re right in the middle of Australia’s largest city, with everything you want close by,” said AB Mroz.
The journey across from the west provided different experiences, with big seas being encountered early on during the trip, felt keenly by shipmates in the Engineering departments.
“It was smooth sailing across Bass Straight, but the Great Australian Bight was a different matter,” AB Mark Taylor said.
“We experienced a 32 degree lean at times—a record for Sirius.”
After her scheduled refit is completed, Sirius will go through evaluation and training before resuming her busy operational tempo.
Commanding Officer of Sirius, Commander Darren Grogan said he is confident that his crew will continue to ‘Serve and Provide’, supporting the Australian Fleet throughout Australian waters and beyond.
“Sirius is a big ship with a small crew.”
“The crew’s dedication and ability keeps the fleet moving,” CMDR Grogan said.
With a capacity of almost 35 thousand cubic metres of fuel, consisting of both marine fuel for Royal Australian Navy ships and aviation fuel for helicopters, Sirius can replenish up to two ships at once, day and night.
Press Release, May 16, 2014; Image: Australian Navy