Near miss for HMAS Childers in Cairns

Whilst alongside Norship Dockyard in Cairns, HMAS Childers rendered assistance to a civilian vessel named Experience which suffered an engine failure.

CAPTION: Civilian vessel Experience after suffering an engine failure. Story by Leading Seaman Peta Binns. Photo supplied.

Childers crew members working on the upper decks noticed the civilian vessel rapidly drifting towards them and it appeared that the vessel was not operating normally.

Crew members on board Childers quickly alerted others nearby, acquired fenders and threw lines to the people on Experience.

The crew were able to prevent the vessel from colliding with Childers, bollards and other neighbouring vessels.

Mr Tom O’Donohue, owner of Experience, said they were caught in a 6 knot current and almost collided with the side of a SeaSwift barge nearby.

“The crew on board HMAS Childers realised our vessel was not operating, and subsequently made calls to throw a line,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“A line was successfully secured to the bow and Experience was hauled to safety.”

Childers’ crew secured Experience alongside, offered medical assistance to the two men on board and contacted port authorities.

Commanding Officer of Childers Lieutenant Commander Simone Paterson said she was pleased to be able to help.

“I am very pleased that Childers was able to render assistance to fellow mariners in need,” Lieutenant Commander Paterson said.

The two mariners on board Experience said they were very grateful to Childers’ crew members.

“As I am 90 years old and had my 70 year old friend assisting me, a collision coupled with the force of the current could have been disastrous,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“Fortunately, the prompt action of the HMAS Childers crew mitigated this hazard and saved any damage to my vessel.”

Childers was recently engaged in an extended maintenance period and had only entered the water within days of the incident.





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