Australian Navy tanker returns to fleet after four-month refit
Royal Australian Navy’s fleet replenishment tanker HMAS Sirius is preparing to return to the fleet following a four-month maintenance period at Captain Graving Dock, Garden Island.
The ship recently sailed out of Sydney Harbour and into the Pacific Ocean for sea trials.
She will return to Sydney briefly to take on bulk fuel at Gore Cove before commencing her transit home to Rockingham, Western Australia. It will be the first time a Navy tanker has ‘bunkered’ fuel at Gore Cove since HMAS Westralia did so in 1993.
In the weeks leading up to their departure, the crew of Sirius had honed their fire, flood and toxic hazard procedures and conducted numerous ‘fast cruises’, which are carried out alongside and simulate a number of emergency situations which may occur at sea.
Sirius also tested its replenishment at sea rigs – which allow her to refuel and replenish other warships at sea while underway – and conducted a basin trial alongside to test the ship’s machinery.
Her readiness will be tested over the next three weeks at sea by a series of ship-run exercises, known as a shakedown, followed by a period of Sea Training Group covered training.
The crew of 73 are looking forward to the upcoming increase in pace.
“We are excited about getting Sirius back to sea to do our job”, said Ship’s Warrant Officer Dale Young.
“When their ship is high and dry, sailors tend to feel a little high and dry as well, and that is how we have all been feeling about our beloved ship the past four months.
“It has been a trying time but extremely well handled by all onboard. Our repairs have been completed and we are keen to get back to work for Australia.”
Sirius is one two replenishment ships provide the Royal Australian Navy with an afloat support capability. The other replenishment ship is HMAS Success which recently celebrated 30 years of service.
Both ships will be replaced by Navantia-built replenishment ships that are expected to enter service in early 2020s.