Jul 18

Nuship Canberra misses the boat on cyclone season

The NUSHIP Canberra won’t be ready to respond to humanitarian emergencies arising from the coming cyclone season, a navy spokesman has said.

The massive vessel, due to be commissioned into the navy on November 28 under the command of Captain Jonathan Sadleir, will significantly improve Australia’s ability to respond to disasters such as cyclones, tsunamis and coastal earthquakes in the region.

But it won’t be this cyclone season. While a captain has been appointed, the final crew is not yet in place.

One of the reasons for the acquisition of Canberra and her sister ship, NUSHIP Adelaide, was the ability to respond to crises such as the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami by delivering aid workers, medical supplies and materiel and operating as offshore hospitals and command and control centres to areas where the local infrastructure has been devastated.

“The RAN has already programmed another amphibious ship to be available to respond to humanitarian and disaster relief emergencies both domestically and regionally during this period [the cyclone season],” the RAN spokesman said.

“Navy will also have a vessel available on the east and west coasts. Each ship will be on a reduced notice to move during the December 19 to January 19, 2015, period and [will be available] to render assistance to search and rescue, civil emergencies or Border Protection Command requests.”

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