LOOKING after the safety of a 4,000 tonne frigate and her crew as it sails Middle Eastern waters may seem like a big job, but it’s all in a day’s work for Navy’s Lieutenant (LEUT) Shaun Stibbard.
The 25-year old Rosebery local is aboard HMAS Newcastle, which is currently deployed on Operation MANITOU, Australia’s commitment to security, stability and prosperity in Middle Eastern waters.
Although he grew up roaming around New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains and the South Coast, LEUT Stibbard has found his home on the sea now.
“As an Officer of the Watch, I keep watches on the bridge of the ship to ensure safe navigation and execution of our daily routines,” he said.
“I also work as a Boarding Officer, which sees me working with my team to conduct boarding operations in an effort to intercept illegal smuggling activities which may be happening in the area.
“It also helps to assure fishermen and merchant traders in the area that their vessels and personnel are secure in Middle Eastern waters.”
Although he previously deployed on Operation MANITOU in 2015, LEUT Stibbard said he was looking forward to experiencing some new ports and areas on this deployment.
“I really enjoy travelling to new parts of the world, and deploying on an operation which contributes to regional maritime security is a great way to do just that,” he said.
“It’s also great to get away from training off of the Australian station, especially with my colleagues and good friends among the crew.”
When he returns to his wife, Rayne, later in the year, LEUT Stibbard said he was looking forward to a good summer barbeque.
“I am keen to get back to Australia and see family and friends and experience the great Aussie beaches and good coffee” he said.
HMAS Newcastle returns to her home port at Fleet Base East, in Sydney, in early December this year.
HMAS Newcastle’s deployment marks the 65th rotation of a Navy vessel to the Middle East region since 1990.