Chief of Navy - Statement regarding patrol boat operations
1 September 2012
In online and print media reporting today a range of assertions and allegations have been made about the Royal Australian Navy’s patrol boats while conducting border protection operations.
In ABC online reporting today a number of serious allegations were made against the crew of HMAS MAITLAND that they had refused water, food and medical assistance to the 34 survivors rescued following a maritime search and rescue incident south west of Java.
These allegations are false. All survivors were provided water throughout the 16 hours they were onboard the ship, they were all provided with a meal of rice, vegetables and fish – not all chose to eat the meal but they were provided it nonetheless.
Medical attention was provided to those who were in need, this included treatment for wounds, exposure to diesel fuel, and dehydration. The survivors were monitored throughout their time onboard.
The story also alleges that the survivors were told that they were being taken to Darwin. This did not occur. The survivors were told they were being taken to the nearest port to provide appropriate medical attention.
In other reporting today an attempt was made to infer that a defect in HMAS BATHURST had in some way compromised the Navy’s ability to respond to asylum seeker boat arrivals. At all times there were sufficient assets assigned to meet the operational commander’s needs.
Navy’s sailors undertake this hazardous task at great personal risk. Those at sea do a tremendous job of which we should all be very proud. They are supported by an equally dedicated team ashore of Navy, Defence Materiel Organisation and contractor personnel who maintain the fleet and allow it to continue to meet its operational tasking.
Chief of Navy