Mariners prepare for the worst

Mariner skills are the fundamentals every member of a ship’s company must be trained in to ensure the safe and successful execution of tasks at sea.

CAPTION: Able Seaman Paul Murra and Able Seaman Lydia Monk participate in a fire hose drill during damage control training on board HMAS Sirius. Story by Lieutenant Commander Ric Mingramm.

As HMAS Sirius sailed north to join HMA ships Canberra and Anzac for Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2021, the ship’s company honed their skills in a number of damage control scenarios.

Petty Officer Walt Miller is in charge of the Standing Sea Fire and Emergency Party and knows that ship fires are among the most dangerous and dreaded of on-board incidents.

Sirius has had many new faces join the ship this year,” Petty Officer Miller said.

“In a short time they are beginning to become confident with their category, whole-ship and damage control responsibilities.”

During a training day, old hands took a great deal of pride in coaching and counselling new crew members to bring them up to speed.

Regular exercise, round robins and drills saw an immediate improvement in the execution of evolutions.

Engineering Officer Lieutenant Commander Mike Langveld said the people who may be needed to respond to an emergency may not be the people you expect.

“Damage control training instils muscle memory and therefore confidence for people who are depended upon in emergencies,” Lieutenant Commander Langveld said.

“History demonstrates that emergencies are best handled when responded to in the first few minutes, and a confident and determined effort in these critical moments by the junior sailors can result in a favourable outcome.

“This is why damage control training is so important to Navy.”

Sirius has begun what will be her last operational deployment.

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