A chance coincidence in operations has found two Navy patrol boats captained by a married couple in passage together west of the Tiwi Islands (north of Darwin) allowing the patrol boats Ararat and Maitland to conduct seamanship training.
The married couple, the first to Captain separate patrol boats at the same time, Lieutenant Commander Khan Beaumont, Commanding Officer HMAS Ararat, and Lieutenant Commander Julia Griffin, Commanding Officer HMAS Maitland, do not get much time to work together but the meeting allowed an opportunity to connect and conduct training exercises.
After HMAS Maitland’s successful patrol at Ashmore Island and HMAS Ararat’s logistics visit in Port Melville, both conducted as part of Operation Resolute, the two boats connected west of the Tiwi Islands to conduct the training.
According to LCDR Griffin, this provided an optimal training opportunity for the two crews, as well as a chance to work closely and build on their camaraderie.
“The day was an excellent opportunity for the two ships to display their skills and operate closely together,” LCDR Griffin said.
“Lieutenant Commander Beaumont’s time in command is also drawing to end, so this encounter provided both of us with a unique and memorable opportunity to work together.”
The opportunity involved a six-hour period of in-company steaming with Ararat and Maitland conducting Officer of the Watch manoeuvres and screenplay station for Phase III Maritime Warfare Officer training.
Tow Approaches and a Towing Exercise (TOWEX) were also conducted, with Ararat taking Maitland under tow.
Seaman Boatswain’s Mate Samuel Allen said the successive serials gave both ships first-hand experience of operating in close proximity to another Royal Australian Navy unit and allowed the ships' companies to conduct a TOWEX with another patrol boat.
“The evolution was a good way to put into practice the seamanship training and procedures Maitland have been training for and conduct a TOWEX, which is core to our jobs as boatswains,” SMN Allen said.
Operation Resolute is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the whole-of-government effort to protect Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests. It is the only ADF operation that currently defends the Australia homeland and its assets.