Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Parramatta has taken part in a refuelling trial at the historic Gore Bay facility in Sydney Harbour.
The event marked the first time since 1901 that a warship, other than Navy tankers HMA Ships Westralia in 1993 and Sirius in 2017, had been refuelled at the site – one of Australia’s oldest fuel import and storage facilities.
Director Fuel Operations, Captain John Metzl said the operation took months of careful planning and collaboration with partner commercial fuelling company Viva Energy Australia.
“Today was a great fuels day,” Captain Metzl said.
“We proved a concept of interoperability between Navy and one of Fuel Services Branch’s strategic partners through a lot of hard work and innovation.”
With the current RAN strategic outlook increasingly task group focused, it is expected that many ships returning to port at the same time will soon become a common procedure. Additional facilities and services including the Gore Bay refuelling port are required to enable the increase in demand for resupply. This has further benefits for ships’ crews, ensuring that personnel are released to port for rest and rejuvination as soon as possible.
Deputy Marine Engineering Officer HMAS Parramatta, Lieutenant Sameera Weerawarna Nilaweera was in charge of refuelling from the shipborne side of the operation and monitored the overall effectiveness of the supplier.
“Our industry partner provided efficient service and worked to ensure this collaboration will continue into the future,” she said.
“Ultimately, we were able to transfer 120,000 litres of marine diesel in about three hours.”
The trial also gave the crew in HMAS Parramatta the opportunity to journey to the mouth of the ship’s namesake river.