HMAS Sirius Replenishes Ballarat at Sea in the Pitch Dark
“Distance two cables, bearing seven degrees,” reported HMAS Ballarat’s Navigating Office, Lieutenant Tom Geraghty to his Commanding Officer, Commander Matthew Doornbos.
“140 feet displaced sir,” he said, as Ballarat made her final approach on HMAS Sirius to conduct a replenishment at sea operation (RAS), 120 nautical miles south-east of Cairns, early on the morning of 12 August.
Sirius started pumping fuel to Ballarat at 0540, providing a top up for Ballarat’s transit north.
Ballarat’s crew closed up at 0430 to make last minute preparations for the RAS, carefully running out lines and preparing the fuelling point.
It was a very new experience for Seaman Communications and Information Systems sailor, Tim Jensen and Able Seaman Communications and Information Systems sailor Robert Ayre.
“This is my first night RAS,” SMN Jensen said. “We have previously conducted a RAS during work-ups, but meeting up with another ship in the middle of the ocean in the pitch dark is a whole different ball game.”
The night RAS presented an interesting challenge for Able Seaman Electronics Technician Ben Allot.
“It was hard work. Setting up in the dark and watching the sun rise as we conducted the RAS was an amazing sight!” he said.
Ballarat completed the RAS just before 0700 and broke away from Sirius with a turn to starboard, after a very successful evolution.
Ballarat is currently on a three month deployment to South East Asia and Operation Resolute.
During this trip Ballarat will visit ports in Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia, and will participate in the bilateral Exercise MASTEX with the Royal Malaysian Navy.
Press Release, August 13, 2013; Image: Royal Australian Navy