It is around 2am on a crystal-clear night on the bridge of the Royal Australian Navy destroyer escort HMAS Derwent when Australian Navy serviceman Andrew Roberts and four other colleagues on night watch duty notice the cylindrical object hovering 500m off the ship’s port bridge wing.
“I looked up and there was this long cylindrical silver object, about 20m long, with a heat-haze around it,” Andrew recalls.
“It was following the ship no more than 500m away. We could see it very clearly in the night sky. I called out to the officer-of-the-watch and five of us all looked up at this thing for at least a good minute.
“As we watched it suddenly instantly accelerated and then disappeared into the distance. The acceleration was amazing, instantaneous. It just disappeared in the blink of an eye.”
It was 1992; the destroyer was headed back to its home base of HMAS Stirling in WA after an ‘up-Top’ Asian deployment.
Andrew was a sonar technician onboard at the time, but he would later qualify to become one of the elites of the Australian Navy’s special forces – a Navy Clearance diver.
Thirty years on, he is adamant that what he saw was not a conventional aircraft, balloon, or drone; indeed, he can think of no prosaic explanation for what he and his shipmates saw.
But he admits it was neither reported to his superiors nor noted in the ship’s log, probably because of the stigma associated with reporting such anomalous objects.
“I was so intrigued by what we’d seen I went down to the radar room and spoke to the radar ops centre to see if they’d seen it on screen; they hadn’t.
“Looking back now, I wish we had reported it but while reporting such things was neither discouraged or encouraged, we were puzzled as to what it was and we kind of let things lie, never passing the sighting on,” he says.
“I also went to the communications centre and checked if there was any comms’ with aircraft or passing ships. There was nothing out there apart from us. So, it went unreported. Part of the issue with that is, what would people think if you do report it because there’s such a stigma attached to UFOs.”
Andrew told me how he was aware from colleagues of other sightings on Navy vessels, including one where a glowing giant sphere followed a ship at sea.
Another former Navy sailor, Elliott Seiffert, told 7NEWS Spotlight how he and another sailor witnessed glowing lights high above their patrol boat at sea, probably in orbit, doing manoeuvres and speeds far beyond known human technology.
“I think it was non-human technology,” Elliott said.
“This was something not of this world.”