AFTER four months away as part of the Indo Pacific Endeavour task group, providing fuel and stores to the other ships and submarines, looking out the bridge window at Centrepoint tower as HMAS Success crossed line Zulu one last time was a wondrous sight.
As she prepared for her final entry into a rain- soaked Sydney Harbour where she was warmly welcomed on June 16, CO Success CAPT Darren Grogan reflected on the achievements of the retiring first lady of the fleet.
“There are always the statistics – 33 years of service to the fleet, 3424 replenishments con- ducted, 997,000 nautical miles steamed – but in my thoughts are other reflective moments this great ship has given,” CAPT Grogan said. “I think one of the most amazing facts is that we have nearly passed 500 million litres of fuel to our many customers over the years.
“Amazingly the ship is still performing very well, which is a credit to the investment made by many – to the point that during this deployment of four and a half months we did not miss a single day or have to delay a RAS based on a major defect or personnel deficiency.
“Perhaps the old girl is resisting retirement.
“Arriving home is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Being away for four and half months, it’s a very happy occasion to be reunited with our fami- lies, friends, and loved ones, but when the fanfare is over a touch of sadness creeps in as we realise it’s the end of the road for this ole girl.
“But they say all good things must come to an end, and we always look to the future.
“I am in the fortunate position of not only decommissioning Success, but I also get to be the commissioning Commanding Officer of her replacement, Nuship Supply, which is finalising her fit-out in Spain and will shortly start sea trials.”
COMAUSFLT RADM Jonathan Mead said the ‘Battle Tanker’ had replenished Australian and coalition ships with fuel, food and other critical supplies over many years.
“Success has been an indispensable part of Navy operations since she was launched in 1984 and she has worked tirelessly to support our maritime operations,” RADM Mead said.
Commissioned in 1986, Success has participated in a record 11 Rim of the Pacific exercises, earned battle honours for service during the 1991 Gulf
War and East Timor in 1999, and helped search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
“Success has quietly operated behind the scenes to help our frontline assets achieve mission success,” RADM Mead said. “Simply put, Success kept other ships at sea longer, thereby increasing maritime security for Australia and our allies.”
CAPT Grogan said he was not surprised by the level of admiration the ship still attracted from cur- rent and former officers and sailors.
“For other ships, Success has always been a welcome symbol of help and support, not just for the supplies she carries but, equally importantly, for the mail and other packages she delivers from loved ones back home,” CAPT Grogan said.
HMAS Success will decommission on June 29 at Fleet Base East.
Source: Navy News