As HMAS Darwin participates in Indo-Pacific Endeavour, she carries with her a group of the Navy’s future leaders.

Eleven warfare officers under training have embarked on a journey that will take them through the full range of experiences they are likely to encounter on a warship at sea.

Darwin is designated as the Fleet training ship so, prior to her departure, all of Darwin’s spare bunks were quickly filled with trainees eager for some on-the-job experience.

The junior officers are on their way to being warfare specialists, and some may get further qualifications in navigation, hydrography, meteorology, oceanography, submarines, clearance diving and mine warfare.

Since Darwin has been at sea, these officers have been able to experience first-hand the complexities of operating within an integrated task group as it is put through its paces in preparation for the task ahead.

From basic ship maneuvering, navigation and situational awareness, to day and night time replenishment evolutions, the officers have been involved with it all under the watchful eyes of Darwin’s experienced bridge team led by the Navigator, Lieutenant Simon Murray.

Midshipman Theodore Squires has enjoyed getting some hands-on experience.

“In most of our careers so far we have only been spending time in the classroom learning about all of this,” he said.

“It’s exciting to get onboard the ship itself to see and feel how it all works in the practical sense.

“Being involved with such an important operation is pretty special too.

“I’m looking forward to getting as much experience as I can!”

Maritime Warfare Officers, as Commanding Officers’ representatives, are responsible for the control and safety of Navy vessels at sea. Their first major qualification is the Navigation Watchkeeping Certificate, followed by the Bridge Warfare Certificate. The Navigation Watchkeeping Certificate focuses on mariner skills and enables the holder to conduct a watch in a minor war vessel, such as a Patrol Boat. The Bridge Warfare Certificate enables the holder to drive the Navy’s major Fleet units, including frigates such as Darwin, as officers-of-the-watch.

A range of visits, activities and exercises are planned during the deployment through Asian waters with the armed forces of Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Timor-Leste, Thailand, Singapore, India, Cambodia, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau.