HMAS Choules has left Garden Island in Sydney today to help in bushfire relief efforts in Victoria and on NSW south coast.
HMAS Choules has left Garden Island in Sydney today to help in bushfire relief efforts in Victoria and on NSW south coast.

Navy ship to help bushfire-ravaged regions

A 176-metre-long Navy ship that delivered emergency supplies to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake has left Sydney and could be used on the fire-devastated NSW south coast.

HMAS Choules, which specialises in responding to humanitarian crises, departed Garden Island about 11am today "and is expected to be available to support relief efforts on the NSW south coast and the northeast of Victoria" from Friday, the Defence Department said.

Choules operates using helicopters including the MRH-90 Taipan, Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk and the Army's S-70A Black Hawk, which are being sent to fire-ravaged areas.

HMAS Choules is on its way to help with bushfire-affected areas.
HMAS Choules is on its way to help with bushfire-affected areas.

Some of the choppers are involved in rescuing people in locations that can't be reached by road. The ship can also come close to shore and offload vehicles, cargo and people.

How it will be used on the NSW south coast had not been determined as of 1pm today, a NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman said.

In 2017, Choules helped with the response after Cyclone Debbie struck the north Queensland coast.

Later that year it helped to rescue people in Vanuatu following a volcanic eruption.

It has also been used to return asylum seekers to Vietnam.

The ship was bought by the Royal Australian Navy in 2011 from the United Kingdom's Royal Fleet Auxiliary for $100 million.

It came into service in 2006 and during her career with the RFA, it patrolled the Falkland Islands and delivered hundreds of tonnes of supplies and rations to Haiti in 2010.