The Royal Australian Navy has given a Fijian Navy contingent, led by the Chief of the Fijian Navy, Captain Humphrey Tawake, a familiarisation tour of the RAN’s diver recompression chambers.
Fiji, and CAPT Tawake, requested to visit in order to enhance the professional development of the Fijian Navy's Diver branch, with staff at HMAS Penguin agreeing to the short-notice wish, providing expert advice and answers to the contingent.
The group was particularly interested in the type and size of recompression chamber that would be needed to meet the Fijian Navy’s requirements for ship and shore based portable recompression chambers.
Following the demonstration of the main recompression chamber at HMAS Penguin, the group travelled to HMAS Waterhen and braved the elements to actively participate in an operational display of the recompression chamber fitted on the Minehunter HMAS Huon.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Huon, Lieutenant Commander Robert Short, said the visit was a great opportunity to showcase an important capability for the Royal Australian Navy.
“This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the equipment we have to support the divers on-board who provide a valuable role in mine warfare countermeasures,” he said.
“Having this equipment on board Minehunters enhances our capability to operate autonomously.”
Following the live demonstration on Huon, the Fijian contingent toured Clearance Diving Team One (CDT1) facilities at HMAS Waterhen, where a portable variant of the recompression chamber was displayed.
CAPT Tawake said he was very impressed with the thoroughness and detailed level of explanation he and his contingent received.
“I appreciate the opportunity to view all this equipment in use today,” he said.
This gratitude was further demonstrated when CAPT Tawake exchanged Navy Crests with Captain Damien Scully-O’Shea, the Capability Manager of the Royal Australian Navy’s Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Group.
“Today’s engagement is an excellent example of Navy’s ongoing collaboration with our Pacific neighbours and the strong relationships we share with our regional navies,” CAPT Scully-O’Shea said.