Commercial tanker fuels HMAS Canberra with F44 for the 1st time

Double hull oil tanker Manning has fueled a landing helicopter dock of the Royal Australian Navy with naval aviation fuel (F44) by self-propelled water fuel lighter for the first time.  

In a recent trial, HMAS Canberra maneuvered into position between Clark Island and the Garden Island Heritage center to receive F44 via the Damen-built and Lloyd-classed ship.

Whilst not without the customary challenges like wind and the location of organic bollards, Manning successfully transferred 100,000 liters of F44 which she had received from the bulk storage depot at Botany Bay. This transfer of fuel into HMAS Canberra proved a further flexibility of the Defence Fuel Supply Chain.

“While road tankers remain an option, this capability significantly improves the efficient delivery of bulk F44 quantities to LHDs; enhancing navy’s ability to respond to short notice tasking,” LEUT Rob Gould, Staff Officer Fuels and Lubricants, said.

The trial was a milestone of firsts, with Manning conducting a transit outside of Sydney heads for the first time since her arrival in 2015, conducting the first fueling of a vessel from the commercial Botany Bay F44 bulk fuel storage and conducting the first fueling of an LHD with F44 by SPWFL.

“The advancement in capability provided by the fuel support vessels has been considerable in my time, and now we have the opportunity to provide even more capability,” Manning’s Master, Nigel Wingate, summed up their role by saying.

Manning and her sister ships, Macleay (Fleet Base East), Mowamba (Fleet Base West) and Macarthur (HMAS Coonawarra) can now be classified as a dual fuel carrying fleet.

The operation confirmed the ability to quickly fuel an LHD with F44, avoiding the alternative use of up to 31 road tankers to fill the LHD F44 tanks to capacity, according to the Royal Australian Navy.