The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has received a new 83m long ship, MV Besant, which is expected to boost RAN's submarine search and rescue (SAR) capability.
Based at Fleet Base West, Rockingham, western Australia, the vessel is one of two ships being acquired to further enhance capabilities.
As a submarine escape gear ship, MV Besant will be used to provide an early intervention role in the event of a disabled submarine.
Submarine Escape and Rescue manager commander Ken Marr said delivery of the ships would enhance the navy's existing capability.
Marr said: "Planning is well underway for Black Carillion 15, our annual submarine and escape and rescue exercise, where MV Besant will play an important part as we utilise and incorporate her many functionalities into our existing procedures.
"The longer 93m rescue gear ship, MV Stoker, is currently undergoing final fit-out and is scheduled to join MS Besant in early January 2016.
"Both vessels will provide more flexibility to respond."
MV Besant is equipped with a side-scan sonar, and the Scorpio SC45 remotely operated vehicle for surveys, damage assessment, debris removal from around the rescue seat and deploy transponders for the LR5 rescue vehicle tracking system, as well as recompression chambers for medical support.
To be operated by Defence Maritime Services, the ships will support submarine escape and rescue activities.
The existing submarine escape and rescue support vessel, MV Seahorse Standard, is expected to be redeployed to the east coast of Australia later this year.
Image: The submarine intervention gear ship MV Besant in Cockburn Sound approaching Fleet Base West in western Australia. Photo: courtesy of CPOIS David Connolly.