Australia — Decommissioning of HMAS Kanimbla

The Min­is­ter for Defence, Stephen Smith, and Min­is­ter for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, today announced that the amphibi­ous ship HMAS Kan­im­bla would be decom­mis­sioned.

In Sep­tem­ber 2010 the Chief of Navy imposed an oper­a­tional pause on HMAS Ships Kan­im­bla due to sea­wor­thi­ness concerns. 

Since then, Defence has assessed the future of HMAS Kanimbla. 

This includ­ed a detailed assess­ment of the capa­bil­i­ty pro­vid­ed by HMAS Kan­im­bla, an assess­ment of its materiel state and a cost and risk assessment. 

The out­come of this assess­ment is that the most cost effec­tive and low­est risk option is to decom­mis­sion HMAS Kanimbla. 

The cost to com­plete the exten­sive reme­di­a­tion work required on HMAS Kan­im­bla is esti­mat­ed to be up to $35 million. 

HMAS Kan­im­bla would not on that basis be avail­able for oper­a­tions until at least mid-2012. HMAS Kan­im­bla was sched­uled in any event to be decom­mis­sioned at the end of 2014. 

It does not rep­re­sent val­ue for mon­ey to there­fore pur­sue fur­ther main­te­nance on HMAS Kanimbla. 

Accord­ing­ly, on the basis of advice and rec­om­men­da­tions from the Chief of Navy and the Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer of the Defence Materiel Organ­i­sa­tion, the Gov­ern­ment has agreed to decom­mis­sion HMAS Kanimbla. 

This announce­ment fol­lows a num­ber of announce­ments relat­ing to Navy’s amphibi­ous capa­bil­i­ty in 2011. 

In Feb­ru­ary the Gov­ern­ment announced that HMAS Manoo­ra would be decom­mis­sioned on the advice of the Chief of Navy that the ship was beyond eco­nom­i­cal repair to bring it back into oper­a­tional ser­vice, giv­en the vessel’s remain­ing planned life. 

HMAS Manoo­ra was for­mal­ly decom­mis­sioned in May. 

The Gov­ern­ment also announced in Feb­ru­ary that it was pur­su­ing the acqui­si­tion of the Unit­ed King­dom amphibi­ous ship the RFA Largs Bay. The Gov­ern­ment indi­cat­ed at the time that, should this acqui­si­tion pro­ceed, it would con­sid­er the decom­mis­sion­ing of the HMAS Kanimbla. 

In April the Gov­ern­ment announced that it had suc­cess­ful­ly acquired Largs Bay for £65 mil­lion (approx­i­mate­ly $100 million). 

Largs Bay will be com­mis­sioned into Navy ser­vice as HMAS Choules in hon­our of Mr Claude Choules, the last known vet­er­an to have served on active ser­vice in the First World War. 

HMAS Choules is expect­ed to arrive in Aus­tralia for a com­mis­sion­ing cer­e­mo­ny in Fre­man­tle in Decem­ber 2011. 

HMAS Tobruk

HMAS Tobruk has been docked in Syd­ney since May while Defence under­takes sched­uled main­te­nance to fur­ther assure the safe­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty of the ship and to return it to 48 hours readi­ness notice. 

Defence has pre­vi­ous­ly char­tered the P&O ves­sel Auro­ra Aus­tralis from May to 12 August to pro­vide a human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief sealift response vessel. 

HMAS Tobruk is cur­rent­ly in the final phase of its sched­uled main­te­nance peri­od and is expect­ed to be avail­able for sea for a short peri­od of time from end August to ear­ly Sep­tem­ber before it under­goes fur­ther sched­uled and pre­vi­ous­ly announced work to pre­pare it for the cyclone sea­son which com­mences in November. 

To pro­vide an amphibi­ous trans­port capa­bil­i­ty while HMAS Tobruk is pre­pared for cyclone sea­son, Defence has nego­ti­at­ed the avail­abil­i­ty of the Aus­tralian Cus­toms Ves­sel Ocean Pro­tec­tor to pro­vide a human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief sealift response ves­sel from 12 August until 14 Octo­ber 2011. 

The Ocean Pro­tec­tor is in addi­tion to Australia’s agree­ment with New Zealand that the New Zealand amphibi­ous lift ship HMNZS Can­ter­bury would be made avail­able as part of the joint Pacif­ic-focused Ready Response Force, sub­ject to any oper­a­tional require­ments in New Zealand. 

Navy con­tin­ues to exam­ine amphibi­ous trans­port ship options from 14 Octo­ber in addi­tion to HMAS Tobruk in the lead up to the arrival of HMAS Choules at the end of this year. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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