Commissioned on 27 May 2000, HMAS Melville is named after Melville Island, just to the north of Darwin. The Royal Australian Navy currently uses the Leeuwin Class Survey Ships (AGS). Leeuwin class ships, HMA Ships Leeuwin and Melville have multi-beam echo sounders and the ability to support a helicopter, and carry three 9 metre survey motor boats. With less than half of the area around Australia surveyed to acceptable standards, these survey ships greatly reduce this figure, making passage of vessels safer and help to protect Australia's ocean environment.

The RAN Hydrographic Service has responsibility for charting more than one eighth of the world's surface, stretching as far west as Cocos Island in the Indian Ocean, east to the Solomon Islands, and from the Equator to the Antarctic. The RAN has six ships and one aircraft engaged in the task.

Specifications

Commanding Officer Commander Paul Savage
Class Leeuwin Class
Type Survey Ship (AGS)
Role
  • Hydrographic survey
  • Support
Pennant A246
International callsign VLSF
Motto With Determination
Home port HMAS Cairns
Builder North Queensland Engineers & Agents
Launched 1 June 1998
Commissioned 27 May 2000
Displacement 2205 tonnes
Length 71.2 metres
Beam 15.2 metres
Draught 4.3 metres
Speed 14 knots
Range 18,000 nautical miles
Crew 46
Machinery
  • 4 x GEC Alsthom 6RK 215 diesel generators
  • 2 x Alsthom electric propulsion motors
Radars STN Atlas 9600 ARPA navigation radar
Sonars
  • C-Tech CMAS 36/39
  • Atlas Fansweep multibeam echo sounder
  • Atlas Hydrographic Deso single beam echo sounder
Helicopters 1 x AS 350B Squirrel (not permanently embarked)
HMAS Melville badge

Function

Survey ship