Two of the Royal Australian Navy’s Coastal Hydrographic Survey ships have recently returned to their homeport of Cairns, having completed a survey of Dawson Strait, Papua New Guinea.
The two ships, Mermaid and Paluma, commenced vital survey work in August to assist mariners in the safe passage and navigation of the region.
The information gathered will determine under-keel clearances for merchant and tourism vessels and will later be transformed into charts by the Australian Hydrographic Office in Wollongong.
Commanding Officer of HMAS Mermaid, Lieutenant Commander Sara Lambden, says the information is a valuable tool for mariners.
“During our survey we conducted soundings and collected data along the coastline. The information will be made into charts which will provide mariners with confidence to travel in the region and will hopefully help to increase tourism and trade,” said LCDR Lambden.
“During the deployment, we had significant interaction with the local communities, explaining the variety of instruments and gauges we deploy and reassured them that the equipment would cause no harm to the area.”
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett, said hydrography is an important part of the nation’s working Navy.
“Navy is responsible for meeting Australia’s obligations under the UN Convention for Safety Of Life At Sea for provision of national hydrographic services,” Rear Admiral Barrett said. “Our hydrographic ships and aircraft perform this vital task, not only around the Australian coast line, but throughout the region. “The Dawson’s Strait survey is another example of Navy’s highly skilled people working hard to ensure the safe passage of mariners and trade.”
Mermaid and Paluma are two of four Paluma Class Survey Motor Launches (SML) operated by the Royal Australian Navy. The 360-metric-ton ships are based in Cairns and are highly suited to coastal and shallow water survey, which forms a major component of the Australian national charting requirement.