Home' Navy News : April 15th 2010 Contents 17
April 15, 2010
he crew of Assail 6
LS Allan Mawer, CIS
LSCIS Allan Mawer is Assail 6's
senior communicator, which gives
him access to the ACPB's state-
of-the-art UHF/VHF comms and
satcom systems, which he uses to
communicate with ADF platforms
and those of other Government
agencies involved in Op Resolute.
LSCIS Mawer joined the RAN
17 years ago and, in his five years
with the PBGRP, has found great
job satisfaction and pride in being a
member of a small crew who con-
tribute to such an important border
"I was posted to Fremantles dur-
ing 1994-95 and, after a stint on a
MFU, I couldn't get back to patrol
boats fast enough," he said.
LSCIS Mawer told Navy News
his roles and responsibilities as
Assail 6's senior communicator were
to run all communications in and out
of the boat, as well as the LAN on
"We have enough technologies to
get the job done."
LSCIS Mawer starts his day at
6am, an hour before the official
'wakey', to collect the signals traffic
before the CO gets up. He completes a
number of schedules every day involv-
ing numerous traffic with other patrol
boats, ships, and senior traffic, which
sees him retire at night no earlier than
"I love serving in patrol boats
because of the lifestyle, but the tempo
is pretty busy," he said.
LSCIS Mawer said he liked the fact
he was in charge of his own depart-
ment and answered directly to the CO.
"There is plenty of pressure
because the CO relies on me heavily
to do my job without prompting from
anyone -- particularly to keep commu-
nications open during boarding opera-
tions and other important evolutions,"
PO Ian King, Buffer
POB Ian King has come a long
way from Euroa, in the heart of
'Ned Kelly country', where he had
a mid-life crisis that compelled
him to answer the call of the sea
some 10 years ago.
As the Buffer, PO King has two
duties for Assail 6 -- to manage the
training for gunnery and seamanship.
"Its my responsibility to ensure
all the crew of Assail 6 are in date
with their weapons qualifications
and seamanship training so they can
conduct all the evolutions, including
berthing," he said.
PO King believes very much
in mentoring the junior sailors and
leading by example, which he dem-
onstrates by doing Officer of the
Watch duties each day, in addition to
his other responsibilities.
"I have many responsibilities
as an Officer of the Watch, such as
ensuring the boat remains on the
course set by the XO who is respon-
sible for navigation," he said.
In this role he also looks after
the safety of personnel and the ship,
launching and recovery of RHIBs,
controls the daily routine set by the
XO, and handles any immediate
PO King said mentoring the junior
sailors helped them to mature and
assume the greater responsibilities
often expected of the small crews that
man patrol boats.
He said all his sailors were cross-
trained to perform all the seamanship
"Basically, on an ACPB the sailors
generally work one rank higher than
what they would on a MFU, where
sailors tend to specialise in one cat-
egory," he said.
"Junior sailors in an ACPB get
fast-tracked and if they're good they
get qualified earlier because of the
responsibility they've had."
PO King said the junior sailors,
particularly the members of the board-
ing party, performed to a high stand-
ard on this patrol.
"We were pretty rushed to launch
the sea-boats for each of the three
boardings we performed on this
patrol, and it speaks volumes of the
sailors' 'can do' attitude," he said.
The Buffer urged junior and senior
sailors who wanted to challenge them-
selves with greater responsibilities,
while enjoying the camaraderie of a
small crew who are proud to contrib-
ute to an actual operation, to give the
PBGRP a go.
"The eight-week patrol roster and
the four-week respite, combined with
the lifestyle and camaraderie, really
suits most sailors' work-life balance,"
"But I reckon you work a lot
harder on a patrol boat than what you
do on a big ship, mainly because you
are always operational, which forces
us to do much of our training during
LS Chris Harrop, ET
LSET Chris 'Squeak' Harrop
enjoys minor celebrity status on
HMAS Ararat because the top of
his head appeared regularly in the
second series of Sea Patrol.
Viewers saw LSET Harrop's
crew-cut and egg-shaped head in the
background as he gazed intensely at
the Marinelink system -- the state-
of-the-art operations centre for engi-
neering on ACPBs.
LSET Harrop, 27, boasts another
milestone -- serving in the first eight
ACPBs which has given him the goal
of serving in all 14 by the time he
swallows the anchor.
Like the Assail 6 crew, LSET
Harrop worked his butt off dur-
ing this Op Resolute patrol, which
featured three boat apprehensions
and a lot of individual and collective
Such are the demands on the
small crews that operate ACPBs,
LSET Harrop has also served in the
boarding party and conducted more
than 60 boardings.
"I great have pride in the job on
board and also in the operation we
do; I wouldn't post out from the
PBGRP for anything," he said.
"In a patrol boat you get a lot of
opportunities to fast-track your learn-
ing and experience as a member of a
small team with a big job."
On the homeward voyage LSET
Harrop operated the Automated
Maintenance Planning System to
check on the engineering depart-
ment's jobs and general maintenance
"This is to put together a pack-
age for our maintenance availability
which starts the day after we get
back from this seven-day patrol," he
LSET Harrop said certain main-
tenance jobs could be put off until
they were due, but if the ship was
not going to be available at that
time (such as Ararat when she's at
sea), then they needed to get things
squared away before the next time
she was in port.
LSET Harrop said Marinelink
made the ACPB a dream to monitor
"Maintenance wise, it's far better
than the older boats," he said.
"Our crew takes particular pride
in being able to fix defects ourselves.
This means we remain operational
and do not miss our patrol schedule."
LS Cameron Symons, BM
LSBM Cameron Symons posted
into the PBGRP some four years
ago and has since conducted about
100 boardings of FFVs and SIEVs.
LSBM Symons is the IC of the
quarterdeck on board the patrol boat
and also the security number with the
"My billet as LSBM means I look
after the weapons side of things as
well as manage the AB bosuns," he
LSBM Symons said this patrol
featured three boarding operations
which taxed the boarding party mem-
bers both mentally and physically for
the duration of the patrol.
"When boarding stations are piped
it's a bit chaotic while everyone gets
themselves ready for what we will
face, either an FFV or SIEV," he said.
The boarding party's first one was
a FFV boarding.
LSBM Symons said once on the
FFV the fishing crew were secured to
ensure that everything was safe and
all the sharp items were removed in
case they "got a bit nasty".
"So you do a sweep of the boat
and start collecting evidence at the
The SIEV boardings are a "differ-
ent kettle of fish," he said.
"The main priority there is to
secure the SIEV and get the crew
mustered to find out exactly what you
are dealing with, even the people who
may be in a desperate situation.
LSBM Symons has spent much
of his time in MFUs but would now
be happy to stay with the PBGRP as
long as he could because he enjoyed
the challenge of contributing to an
actual operation and being a member
of a small and closely-knit team.
"Op Resolute is very important
because it protects our borders from
illegal immigrants and foreign com-
mercial interests that seek to poach
our maritime resources and fish
stocks," he said.
"It's also a genuine job where
you are out there making an active
contribution to Australia's homeland
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