The process of moving civilian maritime into military naval capability has been streamlined under a new partnership between the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
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Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AM, RAN, and chief executive officer of AMSA, Mick Kinley, signed a memorandum of understanding on 16 February, to move vessels from Australia’s civilian regulation authority to operate under a Defence Flag Administration.
VADM Hammond said the MOU provided greater agility for Defence and partner agencies to quickly respond to a variety of needs and contingencies in the maritime environment.
“Australia is a three-ocean island trading nation. Our seaborne supply chains and undersea infrastructure are the lifeblood of our economy — this underpins our way of life as a maritime nation.
“This MOU is important as it allows Australia to better harness its resources in advancing the national interest in our maritime region.
“The agreement will support both Defence and AMSA to uphold Australia’s international obligations for vessel Flag Administration, while enhancing Defence’s maritime response options in times of national necessity or crisis.”
Norwegian-built offshore support vessel Horizon Star is an example of the movement from civilian to military vessel. The ship was purchased for $93.4 million, underwent the rapid acquisition process and was renamed the ADV Reliant. It was then used in support of Australia’s Pacific partners.
Kinley said the MOU was another great example of Australian government organisations partnering for the benefit of the nation.
“We have a close and strong working relationship with Defence and this MOU will enable us to strengthen our maritime responses and operations across a range of situations,” Kinley said.
“The MOU helps the civilian and military regulators to have a mutual understanding of the safety, seaworthiness, and environmental compliance of ships with changing jurisdictions to ensure none of these issues are compromised.
“Vessels operating under Defence’s Flag Administration have obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and can gain access to the necessary ports, oceans, and waterways to deliver missions for the Australian government.
“This MOU will enable a quick extension of this regime to civilian maritime vessels when the need arises,” Kinley said.