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Faster and safer fuelling of ships and subs at West Australian naval base

HMAS Stirling valve actuation


Spotless Facility Services, Department of Defence


Garden Island, Western Australia

About The Project

HMAS Stirling naval base is located on Garden Island, Western Australia. The diesel fuelling systems at the base consist of large storage tanks, fuel dispensing pumps and many valves located below the ship wharves. The tunnels feed power, communications, compressed air, sewage, water and diesel to and from the ships and submarines.

The major issues that needed to be addressed were the tunnels were considered ‘confined spaces’, requiring permits to gain access. A minimum of three personnel were required to conduct inspection or operation works. Also, the valves were separated by distances of up to 2km, which resulted in operational delays and operators needing to be at several different locations.

The Department of Defence commenced a project to move the point of valve operation to a common location outside the confined spaces, to make fuelling safer and to reduce both the number of personnel and the time required to fuel ships and submarines.


  • Created the design drawings and works specifications for Spotless to source an installation contractor;
  • Participated in the preferred tender selection process;
  • Supervised the installation works, and
  • Oversaw the commissioning.

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Major Achievements

  • The design of a new external control panel to allow centralised operation and positioning of the fuel system valves.
  • Design of the new control panels within the wharf tunnels. These panels operated the fuel system valves and provided interconnection to the external operator control panel.
  • The selection of suitable electrical and pneumatic actuators to operate the valves.

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