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Matthew Bruce - Nelson Bay

Diving off of Broughton Island is a distant memory for Navy’s Able Seaman (AB) Maritime Logistics – Supply Chain Matthew Bruce, who is currently deployed to Middle Eastern waters on Operation MANITOU.

The former Nelson Bay resident is a part of HMAS Newcastle’s ship’s company, which is currently deployed to the Middle East to help foster security, stability and prosperity.

While AB Bruce’s main role is requisitioning and providing maritime logistical support to the various departments onboard HMAS Newcastle – he also has extra duties while deployed.

“Alongside my duties in the Maritime Logistics Department, I’m also a member of the ship’s boarding party,” he said.

“In that role, we provide assistance and protection to merchantmen within our area of operations, as well as boarding vessels to conduct search and seizures of illicit cargo.

“Being a part of the ship’s boarding party is an extremely rewarding job.

“We directly affect the flow of illegal cargo in the region, and provide protection for cargo heading to all corners of the globe.”

Although this is his first deployment to Operation MANITOU, AB Bruce said he was looking forward to immersing himself in the various cultures of the Middle East region during port visits.

“I think being able to visit unique areas of the Middle East, and explore the cultures which reside there will be one of the best parts of this deployment,” he said.

“I don’t think it will beat diving out at Broughton [Island] and crabbing for blue swimmers, or four-wheel-driving at Birubi Beach, but it will still be a great experience.

“When I get back home, I’m looking forward to relaxing on Dutchies Beach, fishing with my dad and brother, and going diving again.”

HMAS Newcastle returns to her home port at Fleet Base East, in Sydney, in December.

Operation MANITOU is the Australian Government's Defence contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.

HMAS Newcastle’s deployment marks the 65th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel to the Middle East region since 1990.