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August 15, 2013 www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS
LEUT Emily Kennedy
A GROUP of NUSHIP Canberra
personnel laid eyes on the ship they
will soon call home during their first
visit to Williamstown Dockyard in
Victoria on July 23.
Most were surprised at the size of
Canberra and appreciated the oppor-
tunity to explore the ship for the first
time.At 230m long, 32m wide (beam),
and the tallest mast going close to
touching the base of the Sydney
Harbour Bridge, Canberra is an awe-
ABCSO Chris Carrick said the
NUSHIP was a lot bigger than he
"It's massive on the inside as
well," he said. "It's incredible -- you
could get lost quite easily."
ABCSO Jayo Stenz said he
was looking forward to seeing the
Operations Room and junior sailors'
living spaces. "It's pretty exciting
seeing the ship for the first time," AB
"It's bigger than I expected. The
Operations Room is closed off at the
moment while work continues but
I'm looking forward to seeing our
workspace when its finished."
Canberra, the first of two
Landing Helicopter Dock ships, is
being completed by BAE Systems
-- Maritime, under a Defence Materiel
Organisation (DMO) Project.
Significant progress has been
made with many living and catering
compartments from two deck and
below already completed.
Most of the work now underway
is within the superstructure above
the flight deck (referred to as the
'island') including the Operations
Room, Bridge and the Flight
There are about 400 contractors
on board working to a timeline that
will see delivery of Canberra to the
Navy from DMO in the first quarter
Initial sea trials are due to start
in the last quarter of this year.
Canberra is rotating the ship's
company through so that the team
can familiarise itself with the new
ship, the workspaces and equip-
All personnel are required to
undertake a comprehensive safety
induction which allows them access
to the ship.
More information on Canberra and the
LHD project is at www.navy.gov.au/
fleet/ships-boats-craft/lhd. Take a tour
of NUSHIP Canberra at http://intranet.
NUSHIP Canberra amphibious depart-
ment sailors were among the first to
attend a dedicated Navy landing craft
(LCM-8) advanced marine special-
ist course held at Army's Ross Island
Barracks in Townsville.
POB Shane Bellingham, LSBM
Andrew Downey, LSBM Michael Hines
and LSBM Clint Murphy completed the
two-and-a-half-month course which was
the first LCM-8 specialist course held
for the RAN.
The course was run by the Australian
Army's Maritime Wing, (ALTC-MW),
and consisted of 56 training days, the
final eight of which were in the form of
The aim of the course was to provide
personnel with the skills needed to be
licensed to drive Army watercraft.
LS Downey said the course was cru-
cial for Navy personnel who would be
operating the future LCM1Es which will
be embarked in Canberra.
"One of the things that became
apparent on the course was the fact that
when you are coxswain of these craft,
the buck stops with you," LS Downey
"As a LS you have three other
people to lead away from the ship and
other command support -- so it's a lot
of responsibility particularly in rough
weather or an operational situation.
"The guys on course found ship han-
dling challenging at times.
"The LCM-8s have a flat bottom,
twin screws and no keel so they are sus-
ceptible to the elements.
"A lot of skill was required to reverse
park the craft into 'pens' which were in
the vicinity of a tidal creek which ran
The initial two weeks were a familiar-
isation on the LCM-8 and involved sev-
eral days on the water around Magnetic
Island conducting man overboard, fire,
emergency and towing drills.
During this time Canberra personnel
were among the first to drive an Army
landing craft into a Navy ship, (HMAS
Choules), which along with the sailaway
and the night beachings was among the
highlights of the course.
"I cannot thank Army enough for the
way we were made welcome and also
the degree to which they were willing
to assist us in the training," LS Downey
said.Apart from the four Canberra person-
nel, the two other Navy personnel on the
course were LCDR John Howells and
CPO James Dimmick who are working
towards establishing a training school for
future landing craft coxswains and crews.
'Big' ship visit
Sailors land chance
at craft training
HMAS Gascoyne sailed into Port
Vila in Vanuatu on July 29 where
the crew was able to go ashore to
sample the tropical paradise, receiv-
ing a warm reception from locals.
During the visit, Gascoyne
hosted Deputy Prime Minister of
Vanuatu, Edward Nipake Natapei,
for a CO's luncheon.
Accompanying Mr Natapei was
Australian High Commissioner to
Vanuatu, Jeremy Bruer, and several
other local dignitaries.
The visit was a good opportunity
for Command to speak about the
common security initiatives, and
the role of the Defence Cooperation
Program in supporting the Vanuatu
Police Maritime Wing through the
Pacific Patrol Boat Program.
CO Gascoyne LCDR Aaron Cox
said the ship's chefs and steward put
on a wonderful lunch receiving a
warm thank you from guests.
"The Deputy Prime Minister
was most appreciative and very
interested in the capabilities of a
mine hunter," LCDR Cox said.
"Vanuatu has had long ties with
Australia in enhancing the Police
Maritime Wing's surveillance capa-
bility and Gascoyne is contributing
to this effort while transiting the
Vanuatuan exclusive economic
In between visiting attractions,
11 members of Gascoyne's ships'
company conducted a goodwill
visit to Kawenu Primary School
where they entertained the school-
children with tales from the high
seas, song and dance, culminating
in a friendly game of soccer.
Gascoyne has now travelled to
Nuku'alofa in Tonga, with the ship
using the opportunity to conduct
collective and individual training
HANDS UP: Students from Kawenu Primary School wave to he
camera with Navy personnel from Gascoyne.
Back to classroom for Gascoyne
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: ABCSOs Jayo Stenz, Chris Carrick and Andrew Johns pose in front of NUSHIP
Canberra after visiting the ship on July 23.
Photo: Mary-Anne Lane
STRAIGHT AHEAD: LSBM Michael Hines from NUSHIP Canberra stands
on the LCM-8 directing the vessel master as they approach the dock of
HMAS Choules during landing craft training.
Photo: LSBM Andrew Downey
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