Home' Navy News : August 1st 2013 Contents 18 PERSONNEL
www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS August 1, 2013
POET Brendan Smith
A SAFETY defect identified by the
CN just over a year ago has resulted
in HMAS Sirius berthing ropes being
CO Sirius CMDR Brian Delamont
said CN VADM Ray Griggs visited
Sirius for a safety walk-through under
new Workplace Health and Safety obli-
gations in June last year.
"One of the issues raised by the CN
was the dangerous berthing arrange-
ments of Sirius to secure alongside,"
CMDR Delamont said.
Because normal nylon lines were
not strong enough, Sirius was required
to use flexible steel wire ropes
(FSWR) with a 12-foot tail of nylon
hawser attached to the wire by a stain-
less steel joining link.
The use of FSWR exposed per-
sonnel to a number of potential risks,
• Flaying steel strands along a wide
path caused by FSWR breaking
• Unobserved internal core corrosion
as maintenance standards were dif-
ficult to achieve thoroughly.
• The shackle connecting the FSWR
to the nylon tails inverted and
kinked regularly due to excessive
• Reducing line tension caused inter-
nal friction between individual
FSWR strands, which reduced effec-
• The weight and heavy grease coat-
ing of FSWR caused difficulty for
personnel to handle lines.
• Risk to personnel was increased as
line-handling teams were required
from non-seamanship categories
"CN asked for an analysis and
investigation of alternatives by exam-
ining coalition and merchant navy
arrangements," CMDR Delamont said.
"It was found that new genera-
tion synthetic polymer lines were fit
for purpose with less risk and the
Amphibious and Afloat Support
System Program Office (AASSPO)
and Australian Navy Amphibious and
Afloat Support Group rapidly devel-
oped a program for the berthing line
The selected product was rope
from Samson Rope Technologies, a
gel-spun, multifilament rope made
with Dyneema® fibre, which was a
result of successful programs with the
Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and
The new lines have the following
safety advantages in comparison to
• Low elasticity and lack of fraying
strands reduces snapback danger
zone size and personal injury.
• Greater resistance to flex fatigue
than wire and is unaffected by mois-
• Resistant to most chemicals, UV
radiation and micro-organisms.
• Incredibly strong and is featured to
be rated at 15 times stronger than
• Self-lubrication does not require
• One seventh of the weight of wire
rope, wet or dry, making it quick-
er and easier to berth the ship and
decreases deck loads.
• Ropes made with Dyneema® fibre
float, due to the neutral buoyancy
• Ropes made with Dyneema® fibre
typically outlast wire ropes by a fac-
tor of three in commercial marine
"The transition from FSWR to
Dyneema® was originally meant to
happen during the 2014 docking,"
CMDR Delamont said.
"This was due to the requirement to
refurbish deck fittings and the incom-
patibility issues of using the different
line types at the same time.
"However, rapid contracting by
AASSPO facilitated an accelerated
changeover during the 2013 external
Making Sirius safety improvements
THE Weapons Electrical Engineering
and Warfare Communities have
embraced Training Force's first prior-
ity to increase the use of simulation in
training by establishing a pilot Anzac
Mk3 Fire Control Officer (FCO)
A month ago five electronics
technicians (ETs) were put to the test
to complete their FCO training and
The course consisted of in-depth
training in a wide variety of warfare
They were assessed over the
final two weeks of the course by an
endorsed FCO instructor, qualified
principal warfare officer and an FFH
charge qualified staff CO.
Before this course, FCOs were
required to embark in an Anzac-class
FFH where they were put through a
range of live naval gunfire, anti-sur-
face and anti-air warfare exercises.
The process was both costly and
challenging with the scarcity of sup-
porting assets and explosive ordnance
In 2012, just one ET was endorsed
before December, creating workforce
stress on the ET category and deploy-
Simulation provides a similar
experience as a real warfare serial,
while supporting a cost conscious
approach to training.
The course is run out of HMAS
Watson at the System Training
School, a school specialising in com-
bat systems and simulation training in
all aspects of warfare.
Another course will be held from
September 30 to November 22 and pri-
ority will be given to sailors who have
already completed the FCO course but
who have not achieved endorsement.
From next year all components of
Mk3 or Mk3E FCO courses will fall
under one course code and consist of
• Two weeks -- live firing suitability
(West Head Gunnery Range)
• One week -- FCO preparatory
course (Watson or Stirling)
• Four weeks -- FCO enablers course
(Watson or Stirling)
• Two weeks -- FCO endorsement
(Watson or Stirling)
• Two weeks -- advanced harpoon
weapon control system course
(Watson or Stirling).
LCDR Ryan Jose and
LSIS Helen Frank
FROM the age of five, SBLT Andrew
Bath knew he wanted to be a pilot,
but up until recently, he thought that
would be in a chopper.
After outclassing his fellow stu-
dents on the 231 Advanced Pilot
Course at 2 Flying Training School
RAAF Base Pearce, SBLT Bath has
had to put his helicopter conversion
course on ice as he takes on fast jet
training with the Air Force.
SBLT Bath won the navigation
award and the most improved for
showing impressive progress through-
out the course and has been selected
to train in fast jets. If he passes the
course, he will become an Air Force
"My dad took me to the Avalon Air
Show when I was only five and I loved
it," SBLT Bath said.
"I've now been lucky enough to
get the opportunity to undertake the
introductory fighter course at 79SQN
on the Hawk aircraft.
"I can't wait to start flying the jet
and will hopefully make it all the way
through to fly Hornets.
"It's just a shame the Navy no
longer operates jets as a service trans-
fer will have to occur down the line."
Three other Navy students were
among the 13 on course who gradu-
ated on June 13 and cleaned up half of
the awards on offer.
LEUT Robert Garnock took out the
academic award and SBLT Michael
Skea the aerobatic award. The other
graduate was SBLT Alex Clothier.
The four graduates all said the
wings they were awarded symbolised
the dedication and hard work they had
endured up to this point during their
training as aviators.
"On being told I had passed my
wings test, I was both ecstatic and
relieved," SBLT Bath said.
"It wasn't until the day before I
officially received my wings, as a pas-
senger in the 22-ship thunderbird for-
mation that it sunk in for me."
With friends and family standing
by, the reviewing officer, Commander
Air Lift Group AIRCDRE Gary
Martin, pinned the wings on each of
the graduates signifying the official
start to their careers as Navy pilots.
As SBLT Bath takes on jet training,
LEUT Garnock and SBLTs Skea and
Clothier will start their helicopter con-
version at 723SQN this month.
Pilots soar on course Increase to
HIGH ACHIEVER: LEUT Robert Garnock receives
the academic award from AIRCDRE Gary Martin.
ALL SMILES: (L-R)
SBLTs Michael Skea
and Andrew Bath, LEUT
Robert Garnock and
SBLT Alex Clothier in
their flying suits in front
of a RAAF PC-9 at
RAAF Base Pearce.
Photos: Joondalup Photo Design
CONGRATULATIONS: SBLT Michael Skea receives
the aerobatic award from AIRCDRE Gary Martin.
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