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Army December 10, 2009
By Cpl Corinne Boer
THERE is a ship at Ross Island
Barracks that has never been to sea,
does not have a crew and is only half
a vessel but it's just as important as
any other ship in a fleet.
The Maritime Wing at the Army
School of Transport is the only train-
ing facility in Australia with a land
The impressive structure simulates
a ship's hull which is 12m wide, 24m
long and stands about 5-6m high.
It has a large opening in the upper
deck which replicates the opening to a
The land ship has two cranes -- a
three-tonne Favco crane which is used
on most cargo ships and a Derrick
crane, which consists of single sheaved
blocks set at different positions to
change the direction of the cargo run-
ner used on older-style coastal vessels.
Trainees on the 11-week Cargo
Specialist Course use the land ship to
learn how to safely load a ship while
operating the cranes.
Trainee Cargo Specialist Pte
Mitchell Robinson was impressed with
the capabilities of the machinery.
"I enjoyed the crane phase because
it's not an individual effort, you have
to work as a team within your section,"
Pte Robinson said. "You have to know
each person's job on a deck of a ship
as we will be expected to lift heavy
and awkward items. We have been told
by our instructors that we will be lift-
ing items such as a landing craft which
weighs up to 75 tonnes."
Cargo Specialist Training Section
Head WO2 Michael Giampino said the
emphasis on safety was very high.
"We have young soldiers straight
out of school who operate cranes and
forklifts to lift cargo," WO2 Giampino
"They have to be aware there is
always a danger involved within this
type of job. We have this facility to
reduce the danger and allow the sol-
diers to appreciate what is involved
with loading a ship."
Pte Jade Batten completed her
recruit training and the Basic Driver
Course shortly before attending the
Cargo Specialist Course.
"There is so much to learn with
being a 'termite'," Pte Batten said.
"Our job requires us to work in
every environment and on different
equipment from standard forklifts to
off-road container handlers and mobile
cranes to ship's cranes."
Gaining sea legs on land
MARINE specialists have had an unreal experi-
ence at the helm of a new small-boat simulator
at the Maritime Wing at the Army School of
Transport, at Ross Island Barracks.
The Maritime Wing started using BoatSim in
March. The small-boat simulator prepared trainees
in the use of radars, navigation equipment and inter-
national rules for collision prevention at sea. The
system also provided trainees with an insight on the
lights they would encounter in a harbour at night.
Chief Marine Instructor Maritime Wing WO1
Greg Stuart said he noticed a marked improvement
when the trainees went out at night to identify lights
and different vessels.
"Townsville Harbour doesn't have many lights
or navigation markers, so it was hard for us to train
at night. We previously had to rely on PowerPoint
presentations," WO1 Stuart said.
Students took control of a virtual 3D small boat
while the system ran through a series of life-like sce-
narios. The simulation system operated on a stand-
ard PC with two screens. One screen displayed the
radar, GPS and navigation equipment while other
displayed the small boat's windscreen.
The trainees manoeuvred the small boat using a
ship's wheel and a morse control for the engines of
for small boats
Mighty vessel: Students
on the Cargo Specialist
Course working with the
cranes on the land ship.
Photo by WO2 Michael Giampino
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