Navy Amphibious sea support ship put through paces near Queensland

Australian Army Soldiers embark the SK50 Sea King

Australian Army Soldiers embark the SK50 Sea King (WN09-0063-05)

4 March 2009

The Navy’s Amphibious Sealift Ship, HMNZS CANTERBURY is currently off the coast of Queensland, near Townsville, participating in Exercise Sea Lion 2009. 

CANTERBURY is working alongside HMAS KANIMBLA, landing craft of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Navy divers and Royal Australian Navy Sea King and Australian Army Blackhawk Helicopters.

For CANTERBURY, Exercise Sea Lion is aimed at developing interoperability with Australian amphibious ships and landing craft as well as elements of the Australian Army.   One of the ships main objectives for the exercise is to achieve successful ramp to ramp marriage with Australian landing craft which will ultimately allow CANTERBURY to move personnel, vehicles, and heavy equipment without relying on port facilities.

Throughout Exercise Sea Lion, CANTERBURY will be transporting the Australian Army’s ‘3 Brigade’ soldiers and vehicles from a sea lift port to a tactical landing across the beach.  CANTERBURY’s Landing Craft will conduct beach landings alongside the Australian counterparts, with the highlight for the ship being the stern ramp marriages with heavy landing craft for the first time.

CANTERBURY will also be conducting ‘Lift On, Lift Off’ operations which involve using the ship’s crane to lift vehicles and equipment from the cargo deck to waiting LCH through removable hatches in the flight deck.

Overall Exercise Sea Lion is providing valuable experience for the crew of CANTERBURY as well as giving the ship the chance to work closely with members of the Australian Defence Force and their equipment.   It is proving to be a rewarding and successful exercise that will be a key step in developing CANTERBURY’s amphibious sealift capability.

The Commanding Officer of HMNZS CANTERBURY, Commander Jim Gilmour says, “Exercise Sea Lion 2009 has to date been a complete success with CANTERBURY fully involved with Amphibious Sealift operations – that’s where vehicles and personnel are transferred to shore without port services being available. A key objective of the exercise from the New Zealand Defence Force perspective has been the internal integration of Navy, Army and Air force personnel (a joint effort within CANTERBURY) but also external integration with Australian Defence Force organisations and units.

CANTERBURY has achieved both objectives completely to my satisfaction with all of our personnel working closely as a unit and CANTERBURY operating very effectively as an element (within this exercise) of the Australian Amphibious Task Group”.

CANTERBURY is due back home to the Devonport Naval Base on 20 March 2009.


For further information and registrations of interest for interviews please contact Lieutenant Commander Barbara Cassin, Media Adviser (Navy) 021-2440638.

This page was last reviewed on 14 October 2010.