Information provided to the Chief of Navy by the Landing Platform Amphibious (LPA) Sea Worthiness Board, an independent body that provides robust governance advice to the Chief of Navy, about platform sea-worthiness and potential risks associated with operating the ship class has resulted in an “operational pause” being initiated for the Navy’s two LPAs, HMA Ships Manoora and Kanimbla.
The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Crane AO, CSM, RAN, said while the decision to keep both ships alongside is precautionary, the safety of those on board must come first.
“Our LPAs are a key element of Navy capability, but if their operation has potential to impact on safety then this must be addressed quickly and openly,” VADM Crane said.
Specialist engineers and the Navy’s Sea Training Group will now carry out a closer inspection of each ship’s engineering systems, maintenance arrangements and general condition, to ensure that they can be operated safely and effectively to meet national requirements.
“We will make every effort to get both ships back to sea as soon as possible,” Vice Admiral Crane said. “But we won’t be cutting corners. While I acknowledge the significant effort to improve the state of the LPAs during 2010, the ships will now remain alongside until I am convinced potential problems highlighted by the LPA Sea-Worthiness Board have been addressed.”
The operational pause is not related to the recent small fire on board HMAS Kanimbla. That incident remains under separate investigation. HMA Ships Manoora and Kanimbla will remain alongside in Sydney until given the all clear.
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