CPOMT(P), Royal New Zealand Navy

Chief of Defence Commandation
CPO LEAUGA was serving in HMNZS CANTERBURY on 18 February 2005 when a vibration was felt in the MCR, emanating from the MFP. The order to shut down the MFP was given; smoke was coming from the MFP and it was moving violently on its foundations. CPO LEAUGA was acutely aware of the dangers posed by a disintegrating MFP, nevertheless he did not hesitate to put himself in harm’s way, because he knew a comrade was in the vicinity of the MFP and he had grave concerns for his safety.

CPO LEAUGA leapt into action, to the MFP where he reached through the smoke to trip the pump.  A later investigation found the pump turbine bearing had melted, seizing the pump and turbine. Further, during the extreme vibration the turbine rotor and stationary nozzle box suffered interference and it is likely that, without prompt action, the result would have been catastrophic with the pump turbine disintegrating, sending shards of metal around the Engine Room. In addition to this, superheated steam would have subjected the personnel in the compartment to significant risk of injury or death.


Chief of Defence Commandation