HMAS Melville (A 246)

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
Career (Australia (RAN)) RAN Ensign
Namesake: Melville Island
Ordered: 2 April 1996
Builder: NQEA Ltd, Cairns
Launched: 23 June 1998
Commissioned: 27 May 2000
Homeport: HMAS Cairns
Motto: "With Determination"
Status: Active as of 2008
General characteristics
Class and type: Leeuwin class hydrographic survey ship
Displacement: 2,550 tons
Length: 233.6 ft (71.2 m)
Beam: 49.9 ft (15.2 m)
Draught: 14.1 ft (4.3 m)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric; 4 GEC Alsthom 6RK 215 diesel generators, 4,290 hp (3.2 MW) sustained. 2 Alsthom motors, 1.94 MW, 2 shafts. 1 Schottel bow thruster.
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h)
Range: 18,000 nautical miles (33,000 km) at 9 knots (17 km/h)
Boats and landing
craft carried:
Three 10 metre Survey Motor Boats, equipped with shallow water multi-beam echo-sounders and short range UHF differential GPS
Two light utility boats
One Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB)
Complement: 46
Sensors and
processing systems:
Navigation: STN Atlas 9600 ARPA; I-band.
Sonar: C-Tech CMAS 36/39; hull mounted; high frequency active. Atlas Fansweep-20 multibeam echo sounder. AD 25 single beam echo sounder.
Also fitted with Klein 2000 towed light-weight sidescan sonar.
Aircraft carried: 1 AS 350B Squirrel (not permanently embarked).

HMAS Melville is the second ship of the Leeuwin class of hydrographic survey vessels of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Melville is named after Melville Island to the north of Darwin, Northern Territory. Melville is the first commissioned ship of the Royal Australian Navy to carry this name, although the Navy base in Darwin bore the name "HMAS Melville" from 1940 to 1975.[1] Melville and her sister ship HMAS Leeuwin were built by NQEA in Cairns, Queensland.

Melville has the ability to carry three fully equipped Fantome class survey motor boats for surveys in waters not suitable for Melville herself.[2] HMAS Melville can carry a Squirrel helicopter from 723 Squadron.[3]

Operational history

In June 2003, Melville was sent to south Queensland to inspect the believed wreck location of the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur, which had been torpedoed off Moreton Island during World War II.[4] This had been prompted by several media reports that the wreck was unlikely to be Centaur, and had been wrongly classified since its discovery in 1995.[4] Following up on surveys conducted by the minehunters Hawkesbury and Yarra a month previous, the efforts of Melville confirmed that the shipwreck was not the hospital ship.[4]


  1. Straczek, John. The Royal Australian Navy: Ships, Aircraft and Shore Establishments, Navy Public Affairs, Sydney, 1996. ISBN 1-876-04378-4
  2. Sharpe, Richard (ed). Jane's Fighting Ships 2000-2001, Janes Information Group, London, 2000. ISBN 0-7106-2018-7
  3. Royal Australian Navy webpage for HMAS Melville
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Australian Department of Defence (29 June 2003). "Navy findings of search for ex Army Hospital Ship (AHS) Centaur". Press release. Retrieved 2 June 2009.