At the age of 18, Lieutenant Beimop ‘BJ’ Tapim joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1995, from Mer Island, Torres Straits as a Medical Assistant. He followed in the footsteps of his parents, his father was a Leading Seaman Safety Equipment sailor and his mother was a Leading Seaman Steward.
“My family and people were very supportive, though by joining the Navy I have missed out on numerous cultural activities throughout my career” said Lieutenant Tapim.
He followed in his parents’ footsteps for the job security that the Navy gives. His main focus in joining as a Medical Assistant was to get into the health industry so one day he could help his people. Many of his family are highly represented throughout the ADF, with uncles and aunties and more recently, many of the younger generation.
After working a number of years and experiencing several sea postings as a Medical Assistant, Lieutenant Tapim progressed his career by commencing studies to become a General Practitioner (GP) in 2003. After successful completion of his studies, he now works as a civilian GP registrar, as well as a Navy doctor, a role he is currently undertaking in HMAS Darwin during its deployment on Operation SLIPPER.
“Some of my best experiences were as a junior sailor with the comradery and travel,” Lieutenant Tapim said.
These feelings about the Navy have been passed to his children to enable them to make a choice if they wish to join the ADF, however as he has advised them that a ‘tertiary education will be highly encouraged’.
Lieutenant Tapim was chosen to represent Navy’s Indigenous Australians at the International Fleet Review (IFR) in October 2013. Activities for the IFR included performing at the Town Hall and as a curtain raiser for the fireworks.
“I am proud to be serving in a Navy that is committed to making it the number one career choice for Indigenous youth” said Lieutenant Tapim.
The IFR was Navy’s showcase celebrating the entering of Sydney Harbour, on 04 October 1913, of seven ships commissioned into the newly formed Royal Australian Navy.
Darwin is assigned to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in order to conduct maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.
The CMF is working to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, reduce illegal trafficking, and to promote the maritime environment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business.
Darwin is deployed in support of Operation SLIPPER and is the 57th rotation of Royal Australian Navy ships to deploy to the Middle Eastern Area of Operations, since 1990. Operation SLIPPER is the Australian Defence Force Contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy, and enhancing regional maritime strategy.