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April 29, 2010
pulls in Remus
for water scan
By Graham Davis
NAVY'S specialist Mine Warfare
Geospatial Deployable Systems Team
and DSTO used highly sensitive side-
scan sonar last month to scour lakes
outside Brisbane for a Queensland
woman, reported missing, presumed
The team of five led by LCDR David
Ince used a Remus 100, an autonomous
underwater vehicle (AUV) fitted with
high-definition sidescan sonar, to check
the bottom of two lakes near Ipswich.
Owned by the Defence Scientific and
Technology Organisation, the device is
The Navy team was searching for the
remains of Dulcie Birt, last seen leav-
ing her home in the Ipswich suburb of
Riverview last October.
A team of 20 Queensland homicide
investigators continues to probe her dis-
appearance over which a man has been
charged with murder.
Police divers had earlier entered dis-
used open cut coalmines which, over
the decades, have filled with water and
Their diving activities had been frus-
trated however, by underwater cave-ins
and car wrecks.
"Earlier this year the Queensland
Police asked the Navy if a side-scan
sonar could be brought in to make a
search of Greenlakes, a former mine that
is now a sheet of water 120 metres by
120 metres and 32 metres deep," LCDR
"We told the police that our team
was attending Exercise Sea Lion at
Shoalwater Bay and would be available
to help on the way back to Sydney.
"Our offer was accepted and became
a DACC (Defence aid to the civil com-
"We lowered the Remus AUV into
Greenlakes on March 9 and it went back-
wards and forwards across the lake. Each
leg took about 15 minutes.
"A transponder was positioned out
on the lake so we knew at all times
where the device was and police were in
LOOKING FOR EVIDENCE: ABOVE: LS John Geldof and AB Dylan Brewer position the vessel prior to
starting the scan and BELOW LEFT: The team of LCDR David Ince, AB Dylan Brewer, LS John Geldof,
PO Rico bester and CPO Brad Paullwatches the monitor displaying the sonar scans.
attendance ready to act on any data
"The plan was that if any object
of interest was located police divers
would be able to go directly to the
LCDR Ince said a thorough
search was made of the lake except
for an area behind a group of cars.
"It was too dangerous to get
behind the cars. We did not want to
lose the AUV," he said.
The team completed the
Greenlakes check the following
morning and was then asked to move
to Aqua Lake a few kilometers away.
"This lake was much bigger,"
LCDR Ince continued.
"It was about 500 meters by 500
meters with water between 60 and 80
meters deep so I decided to increase
our stay by a further 24 hours."
The AUV swept the lake, covering
about two-thirds due to the amount of
debris and the risk of losing the AUV.
"We supplied the police with
scans and they thanked us for our
In all the AUV operated for a total
of 24 hours over the three days.
While involved with Exercise Sea
Lion the team worked with Clearance
Diving Team 4 doing basic mine
The five in the deployable team
are part of a 37-person unit based at
HMAS Waterhen and can operate
from ship or shore.
WA memorial brings a flood
of submariner memories
By LEUT Gary McHugh
MEMORIES of submariners, the Oberon
class and - specifically - HMAS Orion
surfaced at a memorial dedication in
Western Australia on April 15.
The ceremony, which marked the
placement of the fin of the former HMAS
Orion at the Naval Memorial Park in
Rockingham, completed the project insti-
gated by the Rockingham Branch of the
Submariners were out in force, includ-
ing current and former members, to hear
CO HMAS Stirling CAPT Brett Dowsing,
on behalf of CN VADM Russ Crane,
remind the gathering of the sacrifice sub-
mariners have made over the years to
Australia's freedom and the Navy's rich
heritage of achievement.
"Orion's fin now represents a silent
sentinel -- a tribute to our submariners,
their creed, their boats and their families,"
CAPT Dowsing said.
He congratulated those involved in the
"The dedication, perseverance and
effort of Rockingham branch of the Naval
Association, Rockingham City Council,
WOs Bill Mansfield and Len Carr, and
personnel from FSU-Perth are particularly
noteworthy in bringing the project to com-
Mr Malcolm Hughes, president of the
branch and Master of Ceremonies for the
dedication, spoke of Orion's outstanding
Orion was the fifth of six Oberon Class
submarines that served in the RAN and
was commissioned on June 15, 1977 -- she
was decommissioned on October 4, 1996.
Oberon Class submarines are already
well known to Western Australians, with
the former HMAS Ovens on permanent
display at Fremantle Maritime Museum
and the fin of the former HMAS Oxley
displayed at HMAS Stirling.
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