February 14, 2019 – In their first week at sea in 2019, the new Commanding Officer of HMAS Gascoyne and his Ship’s Company hosted the newest officers of the Mine Warfare community for their final sea assessment week.
The visiting members of the Mine Warfare Officer Course demonstrated their consolidated skills in mine warfare serials by classifying, identifying and counter-mining sea mines (exercise mines).
Under the supervision of instructors and the ship’s staff, the course participants conducted mine disposal vehicle runs which reinforced the importance of practicing mine warfare while maintaining navigational safety.
The relationship between the bridge team and mine warfare students developed as the week progressed, with formative and summative assessments conducted.
At the conclusion of the week, the understanding between Officers of the Watch and Mine Warfare Officers allowed for faster and safer evolutions and an improved ability to maintain open sea lanes of communication within a mine threat environment.
The week also proved an excellent opportunity for the Ship’s Company to conduct a shakedown period, orienting new members of the crew to ship routines and validating damage control efforts.
Further training was undertaken by Maritime Warfare Officers undertaking Phase 3 of their training and others progressing towards their platform endorsements, who exercised ship handling skills, man overboard drills and boat operations, under the instruction of the Navigating Officer.
The week at sea on the Navy Minehunter was particularly significant for Lieutenant Liam Northend, who on completion of the Mine Warfare Officer Course became Gascoyne’s Operations Officer.
“It was a really positive experience working towards the final assessments under this command team,” Lieutenant Northend said.
“I was an Officer of the Watch during Mine Warfare exercises in Korea and Japan last year, so to be able to step up and have greater responsibility in Gascoyne for our upcoming overseas deployment is a special opportunity and a challenge I’m looking forward to,” he said.
The Mine Warfare Officer Course involves 10 weeks of theoretical and practical training and equips the trainees with the fundamental knowledge required for mine warfare operations.
All six students who conducted their assessments in Gascoyne achieved the required competencies and will proceed to different units to further their understanding of operations within the Mine Warfare community.