Senate debates

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Questions on Notice

Defence (Question No. 1527)

Photo of Bob BrownBob Brown (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 2 February 2012:

Does the Royal Australian Navy have an ice strengthened vessel or ice breaking vessel in its fleet; if not, are there plans to build or buy such a vessel.

Photo of Chris EvansChris Evans (WA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) HMAS Choules is the only vessel in the Royal Australian Navy with a certification society recognised ice strengthened rating, although it was not acquired on the basis of its ice rating, being first and foremost a contingency maritime Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief response vessel.

(2) HMAS Choules has a 1C ice rating under Lloyds Classification Society rules. The level of ice strengthening of a vessel's hull is referred to as an ice rating which dictates where a vessel may be operated. In the case of Choules the vessel can operate in broken first year ice at up to 0.4 metre thick.

(3) Other classes of vessels within the Royal Australian Navy are not designed for operation within ice and are therefore normally limited to operating north of the Antarctic Convergence Zone (ACZ). The ACZ is normally defined as: The Falkland Islands, Prince Edward Islands, Crozet Islands, Île Amsterdam, Île Saint-Paul, Tierra del Fuego and Macquarie Island lie north of the Antarctic Convergence. The Kerguelen Islands lie approximately on the Convergence. The South Shetland Islands, South Orkney Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Bouvet Island, Heard Island and McDonald Islands all lie south of the Convergence.

(4) The Defence White Paper 2009 does not establish a requirement for the Australian Defence Force to own and operate an ice-strengthened or ice-breaking capable vessel.