Photos: Amphib Provides Transport for Australian Firefighters

Volunteer firefighters board a landing craft for transport to the HMAS Choules (RAN)

Published Jan 8, 2020 6:36 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Australian Navy amphib HMAS Choules has provided transport for evacuees and local firefighters rotating off duty in the fire-ravaged town of Mallacoota, Victoria, marking her second relief voyage to the area since bushfires swept through last week. 

Working with local authorities, including Victoria Police and Red Cross Australia, the ship's company helped local residents, tourists and members of the Country Fire Authority to board landing craft and transfer to the ship for a transit to a safe port on the outskirts of Melbourne. 

Residents and tourists register for evacuation aboard HMAS Choules, Mallacoota, Jan. 6 (RAN)

Safety briefing for members of the Country Fire Association before transfer to HMAS Choules (RAN)

Members of the Country Fire Association transfer to HMAS Choules (RAN)

HMAS Choules' leadership welcomes firefighters aboard (RAN)

The Royal Australian Navy’s largest ship, the amphib HMAS Adelaide, has joined HMAS Choules and the training ship MV Sycamore off the southeastern coast of Australia but has not yet assisted with evacuations. The ship is currently located off the coast of Eden, another town hit hard by the fires, and her commanders have been meeting with local authorities, police and fire crews. Medical staff have also provided some initial first aid support to local communities. 

“We are providing assurance to the Australian community that we have got their back and we are ready to stand by them during this difficult time,” said HMAS Adelaide executive officer Cmdr. Jace Hutchison in a statement. 

Landing craft from HMAS Adelaide heads ashore at Eden (RAN)

Landing craft from HMAS Adelaide discharges equipment from the 9th Force Support Battalion at Eden (RAN)

In the event that Adelaide's transport capabilities are required, her light vehicle deck has been transformed into an emergency accommodation area for any potential evacuees. Bedding, refreshments, food, care facilities, phone charging points and pet support are all made ready.

“Everyone has pitched in and helped out, this has been a whole ship evolution. We all know how important this task is and want to do our best to help the community in any way,” said Sub Lieutenant Cameron Blanch, the ship's assistant maritime logistics officer.