Media reporting on Armidale Class Patrol Boat Maintenance
31 December 2013
On Tuesday 31 December 2013, News Corp published a syndicated article (for example, Asylum seeker missions wearing down Navy’s fleet) which appears to have based its reporting largely on an inquiry into a toxic hazard incident which was conducted by Major General Melick in 2011-12. As it is now the close of 2013 I must take the opportunity to update and correct the information contained in today’s articles.
In February 2012 I initiated a review of Armidale Class Patrol Boat (ACPB) maintenance, which resulted in a dedicated remediation program. This program saw a significant increase in focus on maintenance and an increase of over 330 maintenance days for the Armidale fleet. The remediation program also resulted in a substantial increase of resources applied to maintenance of the Armidale fleet by the in service support contractor, Defence Maritime Services (DMS).
As a result of the remediation program and the increased resources applied by DMS, Navy has seen significant improvement in Armidale availability and reliability.
Using the dated report as its reference, the article also speculates on the sustainability of the Armidale class patrol boat fleet due to the employment of the boats in the border protection role. There is no basis to the assertion that the boats’ employment has shortened their service life. Navy believes the planned 15 year life can bet met while continuing to meet the Australian Government’s operational requirements.
The nature of operations at sea is that defects will periodically arise in vessels as a normal occurrence. These defects are risk assessed for their impact on mission readiness and safety, and an appropriate repair plan is implemented. Navy’s Seaworthiness Management System, formally introduced in 2012, is designed to ensure that operational imperatives do not override the safety of Navy people and their platforms.
The men and women of the patrol boat force provide outstanding service to the nation’s security with up to eight boats on the job at sea over the Christmas and New Year period.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999