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Tamara Prins – Mentone

Tamara Prins from the Melbourne suburb of Mentone reckons her mum, Karen, is as “proud as punch” that her daughter is a sailor in the Royal Australian Navy.

Tamara, 27, has come along way in the Navy since graduating from Kilbreda College in 2008.

Tamara joined the Navy on July 27, 2009, and is now serving aboard the guided missile frigate, HMAS Melbourne, which is conducting maritime security operations in the Middle East. 

Tamara is an integral member of the crew of 220, as she performs two important roles as a Communications and Information Systems (CIS) operator and as a member of the ship’s armed boarding party.

As a CIS sailor, Tamara is responsible for providing voice and data links from ship to shore and also other maritime units in the area. 

Tamara is also responsible for communicating with other ships via radio, flashing light or signals using flags.

Her role with the boarding party involves handling weapons, boarding suspected pirate vessels, and dealing with any threat situation.

“As a member of Melbourne’s boarding party which inspects suspected pirate vessels I have added responsibility,” she said.

Tamara has visited more than 20 countries in four years while serving aboard HMA Ships Sydney and Ballarat, but her time on board Melbourne has been the most memorable.

Tamara cited Melbourne’s recent interception of two pirate skiffs off the coast of Somalia on October 15 as one of her career highlights.
“We intercepted the pirate skiffs after two reports of attempted acts of piracy against separate merchant vessels in the area.”
“It was very exciting because I was the communications link in the boarding party as we approached the pirate boats.”

Tamara is today preparing for another Christmas away from her family and friends in Mentone.

“I will miss the festive season more this year because my nieces and nephews are at a good age to enjoy it,” she said.

“I really value the family time whenever I can get it.”

Tamara is looking forward to a triumphant home-coming in March 2014, when she will take up a new career challenge as an instructor at the Navy Communications School at HMAS Cerberus, on the Mornington peninsula, in Victoria.

“I am ready for a new challenge because I am no stranger to responsibility,” she said.

“I have lived and worked in the USA and Mexico at the National Outdoor Leadership School and also represented Navy in women’s AFL and soccer.”

Melbourne is deployed to the Middle East as part of the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the international campaign against terrorism. 

The guided missile frigate is flexibly cross-tasked across maritime security operations including counter terrorism, counter-piracy and Arabian Gulf maritime security as part of the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

Melbourne is the 56th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy warship to the Middle East since the first Gulf War in 1990 and is the 32nd ship to deploy to the Middle East since September 2001.