“Usually the Marine Engineering System department is first on the boat and the last off the boat,” said Able Seaman Brent Hillier who is currently sailing on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown. “We work incredibly hard, and as a result we’re a close knit department.”
Hillier’s main task on the ship is to perform engineering rounds. “While on watch, I travel between various engineering spaces below the main decks to ensure that all engines and auxiliary equipment are running correctly,” said AB Hillier.
In a typical day, engineering roundsmen work two or three four hours shifts.
When not on watch, there’s often routine maintenance and corrective maintenance to help with. If he’s not doing that then you’ll find him studying to write his Auxiliary Machinery Operator Certification Level 1 exam, which he will write this week.
“It makes for a busy schedule, but I enjoy the fact that no watch is the same,” said AB Hillier. “There are always different challenges to overcome; the best part of my job is that I’m always learning.”
In addition to his watches, ship maintenance, and studying, there are also meals to be eaten, physical training to be done, and everyone has to take a turn doing jobs that help keep the ship running on a day to day basis such as scullery or laundry.
This is Hillier’s first overseas deployment and he has been in the Royal Canadian Navy two years. “Besides everything I’ve learned in this deployment, one of the highlights for me was getting to go on our familiarization flight in our helo,” said Hillier. “The air crew took me and explained how everything works.It was great to gain a better understanding of what they do.”
HMCS Charlottetown deployed from Halifax, Canada, on January 8. From January 24 until April 20, she operated with NATO allies participating in Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE) in the Mediterranean Sea. In May, Charlottetown changed her area of operation and began working with Combined Task Force 150, one of three Task Forces within Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
CMF is a 26 nation naval partnership, which exists to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters covering the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean; an area which encompasses some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.