Photo: Midshipman Matt Wilson taking a fix on the bridge of HMNZS OTAGO
3 June 2011
Matt Wilson, from Helensville, is beating the winter blues by driving a 1,900 tonne warship ship around the South Pacific.
Midshipman Matt Wilson is a Seaman Officer on board Offshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS OTAGO that is currently on a 38 day long-duration Pacific Island deployment.
As a Seaman Officer, Midshipman Wilson does Officer of the Watch duties on the bridge. Midshipman Wilson is currently working towards his Alpha ticket, which will allow him sole charge to drive the ship.
“It can be very busy on the bridge. I am under training to have sole charge of the ship so my watches include sea boat drills, man overboard exercises, and engineering breakdown drills to test my knowledge of the ship” Said Midshipman Wilson.
“I also have to do general navigation, taking fixes and drive the ship along a specific course.”
The highlight of this deployment for Midshipman Wilson has been navigating the ship around Raoul Island. OTAGO re-supplied the Department of Conservation facilities on the island.
“I got to navigate the ship around Raoul Island for what we call close proximity pilotage. That means I got to take the ship in very close to the land and the rocks that surrounds the island. This takes a lot of concentration and skill!”
The next port of call for OTAGO is Rarotonga.
“I am looking forward to having a look around Rarotonga and just relaxing.”
OTAGO left Auckland in the middle of May and during this time the ship has spent the past 3 weeks in the Pacific undertaking maritime security tasks, fisheries patrols, and supporting diplomatic tasks.
The ship has visited Raoul Island, Tonga, Samoa and the Tokelau Islands before its visit to Rarotonga, then to Niue and back to Raoul Island before heading home to Auckland.