Jim McFayden, Lord Howe Island Signal
On Wednesday 2nd June 2021 the Lord Howe Island Marine Rescue (LHIMR) was opened and commissioned in a ceremony held on the lawn in front of the new building overlooking the lagoon on a picture-perfect day.
The event was attended by the Commissioner of NSW Police Force Mick Fuller, Hon. Minister for Police and Emergency services David Elliot, Hon member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams, Chairman of Directors Marine Rescue NSW James Glissan , Commissioner of Marine Rescue NSW Stacey Tannos, Deputy Commissioner of Marine Rescue NSW Alex Barrell, members of the 35 strong LHIMR volunteers, their proud families and members of the LHI community.
The ‘opening’ of the Marine Rescue building was conducted by Minister Elliot, Local member Leslie Williams and Commissioner Tannos with the unveiling of the building plaque.
LHIMR vessel ‘Fearless’ call sign LH40 (Lord Howe forty) was then commissioned and blessed by the LHI Anglican Minister Steve Abbott in a prayer offering.
Special mention and sincere thanks goes to the Birdon staff both the ship’s crew and shore-based staff who generously offered to stop work for a short time to allow the ceremony to be conducted without the usual noises and frantic activity associated with unloading the ship. As we know the ship voyage was delayed due to heavy sea conditions however this proved to be a bonus as it allowed the visiting dignitaries to witness the complexities and hard work associated with unloading the ship and the delivery of freight to the Island.
LHIMR is the first off-shore marine rescue unit in NSW and the 45th overall. We have been very well resourced with world class assets and training and a solid commitment to spend funds locally as a priority. The back-up and support from the Marine Rescue NSW organisation during the establishment of our unit has been nothing short of outstanding.
This ‘voyage’ started more than six years ago, there have been highs and lows during the project, and there always will be, however the end result was always the leading light we knew we would reach. Congratulations to all those involved, you know who you are, but especially the forgotten heroes of any volunteer organisation, the families of our volunteers. Not only do our volunteers give up their precious time but few think about or acknowledge the sacrifices of family time whilst their dad, mum, sister, brother, son, daughter, uncle, aunty etc are ‘answering the call’.
LHIMR now offers a world class rescue response capability for local mariners, transiting vessels, aircraft both commercial and private or any other sea-based situation which requires immediate action. We also plan to build and establish a maritime education platform for our Island young people.
LHI has a very strong commercial maritime history. If we can offer and guide career options for young people in the marine industry I think all the effort has been more than worth it.
Please feel free to drop into the building to have a look around, if the vessel is alongside the jetty, again come and have a look over her.
This article appeared in The Lord Howe Island Signal, 30 June 2021.