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Bushfire rescue ship first to use Brisbane’s new cruise terminal

Later the security staff checked crew as they left for a weekend’s shore leave.

Jacqueline Bennett was at the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal to meet her grand daughter Michaeala, who serves on the HMAS Choules.

Jacqueline Bennett was at the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal to meet her grand daughter Michaeala, who serves on the HMAS Choules.Credit:Tony Moore

Brisbane’s Jacqueline Bennett was there to collect her granddaughter, Michaela Bennett.

“Choules has been up north for the past three months around Cairns and Townsville,” Jacqueline Bennett said.

“They couldn’t go further north than that because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“[Michaela] is excited to be home because I think it will be her last trip for a long time because of the NSW COVID-19 lockdown.

“She is based in New South Wales, in Sydney.

“She used to be on the HAMAS Parramatta, but she changed to be on the Choules.”

Michaela Bennett said she had been in the Navy for three years and was happy to be back in Brisbane before returning to Sydney.

“I’m just going to go out and catch up with some friends; just relax before we go into lockdown when we get back to Sydney,” she said.

They both were first-timers to the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal, which was mostly closed on Friday afternoon.

It has the appearance of an airport arrival or destination terminal, with high-pitched, sloping roof and full-length windows.

Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.

Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.Credit:Tony Moore

“Yes. It’s quite okay. I didn’t even know it was here,” Jacqueline Bennett said.

“I knew they were going to build one, but I didn’t realise they were this far ahead with it.

“It’s amazing actually. It’s much better than Portside. They are not going to keep using Portside are they?”

Portside will continue to dock medium-to-smaller cruise ships. Anything 270 metres or more will be docked at the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.

Roads leading to and from the International Cruise Terminal are still poor and new visitors to Brisbane might be shocked to drive through store yards, container yards and fertiliser yards.

Roads leading to and and from the cruise terminal and poor and congested with heavy vehicles because of the types of industry in the area.

Roads leading to and and from the cruise terminal and poor and congested with heavy vehicles because of the types of industry in the area.Credit:Tony Moore

The HMAS Choules docked at the Brisbane International Cruise Ship Terminal because there were no alternative suitable docking locations available.

It is a multi-purpose Navy landing platform, capable of carrying up to 700 troops, 23 Abrams tanks and 150 light trucks.

HMAS Choules ferried thousands stranded by the Mallacoota bushfires in Victoria in January 2020.

More than 1000 people were evacuated using navy vessel the HMAS Choules after fires trapped them in Mallacoota.

More than 1000 people were evacuated using navy vessel the HMAS Choules after fires trapped them in Mallacoota.Credit:Justin McManus

HMAS Choules is also a specialist mobile landing base for Navy helicopters including the MRH-90 Taipan and MH-60R Seahawk and the Australian Army’s S-70A Black Hawk, with a large flight deck that can accommodate two large choppers.

Between March 2013 and April 2014 it clocked up 1000 deck landings of Blackhawks, MRH-90 and Seahawk helicopters.

HMAS Choules departed its home port Garden Island in Sydney in mid-June, Defence Media said.

“Since then, the ship has participated in Exercise Talisman Sabre, Australia’s largest bilateral training event with the United States alongside forces from Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United Kingdom,” they said.

The Navy’s HMAS Choules is the first ship to use the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.

The Navy’s HMAS Choules is the first ship to use the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.Credit:Tony Moore

Over the last few weeks, Choules has supported Australian Army’s 5th Aviation Regiment training.

Following the visit to Brisbane the ship and its crew will return to Sydney.

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