A series of firsts has resulted in Navy benefitting from further flexibility in refuelling options for our Landing Helicopter Docks, HMA Ships Canberra and Adelaide.
In a recent trial, HMAS Canberra manoeuvred into position between Clark Island and the Garden Island Heritage centre to receive naval aviation fuel (F44) via the Damen-built and Lloyd-classed double hull oil tanker Manning for the first time, proving another capability in the Defence Fuel Supply Chain.
Whilst not without the customary challenges like wind and the location of organic bollards, Manning successfully transferred 100,000 litres 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,” said LEUT Rob Gould, Staff Officer Fuels and Lubricants.
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 fuelling of a vessel from the commercial Botany Bay F44 bulk fuel storage and conducting the first fuelling of an LHD with F44 by SPWFL (Self-Propelled Water Fuel Lighter).
Manning’s Master, Nigel Wingate, summed up their role by saying, “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 and her sister ships, Macleay (Fleet Base East), Mowamba (Fleet Base West) and Macarthur (HMAS Coonawarra) can now truly be classified as a dual fuel carrying fleet.
Importantly for Navy this evolution 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.