The Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Support Unit has been called in to provide maintenance support to British frigate HMS Sutherland, currently on deployment in the Pacific, following weather-related damage to its galley. 

Sutherland’s galley deck was damaged during heavy weather which caused it to flex leading to superficial damage which rendered the area unsafe for food preparation. With five months left in the deployment, and only a couple of days alongside Sydney’s Garden Island naval base, the issue posed a real threat to the ship’s operating capability and ability to complete the deployment.

Logistics Officer HMS Sutherland, Lieutenant Commander David Bell said that the damage posed a significant challenge as “the galley deck was no longer satisfactory in a food preparation area and would have degraded further throughout the deployment”.

“The situation had given me a few restless nights,” Lieutenant Commander Bell said.

The Royal Australian Navy was quick to step in and help out however, sending three sailors from the Fleet Support Unit South East to concrete, tile and grout the damaged area in record time, bringing the galley back to an operational condition in less than 48 hours.

Leading the operation for the Australians, Lieutenant Commander Mark McGuinness (RAN) said his unit was happy to provide assistance. “Initially it was thought that a temporary repair could be carried out that would get Sutherland home. However, noting that five months of the deployment remained, this plan was quickly altered to constitute a comprehensive repair.”

Describing the opportunity to work as part of the repair team on the British warship, Petty Officer Marine Technician Stewart Martin (RAN) said that “being able to offer assistance to a close ally so that she can sail in the proper material state – especially when it’s related to food – is a good feeling.”


  1. I am working with a bunch of FSU lads and lasses at the moment. Great bunch and they are enjoying the chance to work away from home with my lot supporting one of their units which is on deployment.

    Decks break, tiles crack….RN media have over egged it saying its keeping the LO awake at night…the chefs won’t give a toss and the chippy would have done the repair but is probably to busy enjoying the entertainment on offer in Sydney.

  2. I was under the impression that warships didn’t have tiles and grout owing to the potential for shrapnel. Having just smashed the tiles off my bathroom,I am now full of tiny holes.

  3. Sounds like an excuse for a run ashore to me 🍺
    Peder – you see not only increasing the value of our own economy but spreading the love to the local Australian service industry too.
    We are the country that just keeps on giving!!
    I would advise the locals though – yes there are men in I’ll fitting dresses wandering the streets with a British accent. But Royal will be Royal 😀

  4. No snorkers, no oggies, now we have a real crisis. Still, I dare say the Aussies will find a few emergency cans to go with the Bar B.

  5. No big deal, Small bit of damage that in any other area would have been fine but with food safety in mind had to be done right because crap could fill in those cracks that then becomes an issue for food prep. So they fixed it properly. Issues done. 3 blokes loaned for 48 hours and a few hundred dollars in materials isnt news.

    What I’d say is better news is that we can quickly work together on such situations to rectify the problem with out having to go through any financial or bureaucratic BS. Im sure RN would have done same if situation was reversed.

    • Broken tiles are not a real food safety issue…

      How a pussers chef puts the holes in Donuts now that’s an issue…
      And for god’s sake never ever ask a chef what was in the special sauce he used in the pie…

  6. That looks like a lot more than a bit of flex,there seems to be a great big wobble in floor. Is it serious?Is type 23 known to have structural problems?

    • Dosnt look like its been cleaned for a very long time either. Whats the softwood bung all about?Damage control drain?

  7. The RAN are brilliant seafarers as befits a very large island nation. When it all kicks off with China as it inevitably will we shall be brothers in arms once again.

  8. They missed out the end of the article: ” The Australian personnel following standard RAN dietary requirements by installing a BBQ and put up signs in the cold stores stating ‘Shrimp storage yah whinging Poms’, relief was expressed amongst the RN crewman that there was no issue with the heads forcing their reconfiguration to RAN standards of two wooden shack over the rear of the vessel one labeled ‘Bloke Dunny’ and the other ‘Sheila Dunny’…”


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