Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Study into alternative crewing for Navy support ships

Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, today announced a study by the Royal Australian Navy into alternative methods of crewing some of its support ships.

Navy will work with other Federal agencies and Australia’s maritime industry to examine the feasibility of alternate crewing options to better utilise Navy’s uniformed workforce and take advantage of skills and experience in the civilian shipping industry.

This review will examine the viability of crewing some of our vessels with a mix of civilian and military or even all civilian crews.

Such crewing arrangements already operate successfully in the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom and across the United States Government’s Transport Command in support of the United States Navy.

These alternate arrangements could apply to selected support ships such as HMAS Choules once the first Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock has been delivered, and the Navy’s auxiliary tanker, HMAS Sirius.

It will not apply to Navy’s warships, including frigates, Air Warfare Destroyers, Landing Helicopter Docks and patrol boats.

The study may also provide a complementary strategy to re-invigorate Australia’s merchant shipping industry. This is in line with the series of reforms announced by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, on Friday 9 September 2011, under the Government initiative “Stronger Shipping for a Stronger Australia”.

Media contact:

Mr Smith’s Office: Ellen Shields (02) 6277 7800 or 0400 347 473

Mr Clare’s Office: Korena Flanagan (02) 6277 7620 or 0418 251 316

Department: (02) 6127 1999

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