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NAVY, ARMY, AIRFORCE
July 21, 2011
Part II release
of Success COI
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT:
The conduct of some sail-
ors aboard HMAS Success
is at the centre of an
By Graham McBean
SENIOR sailors landed in Singapore
on May 9, 2009, from HMAS Success,
have received a formal apology for the
Navy’s management of their case amid
concerns of unacceptable behaviour.
The sailors were removed from
Success and subsequently returned to
Sydney after complaints from other
members of Success about the long-
standing poor behaviour of the marine
technician trade on board.
An apology was recommended with
the release on July 7 of Part II of the
HMAS Success Commission of Inquiry
into allegations of unacceptable behav-
iour and the management of those
Commission President Roger Gyles
QC made clear the senior sailors were
still to be accountable for any wrong-
doing on their part, but said Defence
Public Affairs, Navy Legal and Navy
Command “needed a jolt”.
He said a properly framed apology
should be offered and ex gratia monetary
compensation be paid.
“The failure to provide to the sail-
ors any reasons for their landing until
[September 18] 2009, despite numerous
requests, and their continued exclusion
from Success without explanation, con-
signed them to a limbo that was serious
enough,” Mr Gyles said.
“The consequences were, however,
escalated to extraordinary proportions
by the frenzy of media allegations of a
connection between the landing of the
sailors and a sex ledger or a sex scandal
of some sort.”
Mr Gyles criticised Navy for allow-
ing the media reports to remain unan-
swered from the first instance on July 4
until October 27 when a single letter was
written to one newspaper.
While critical of Navy, the report did
not exonerate the senior sailors from
possible disciplinary action.
“The senior sailors should be called
to account for their wrongdoing. Two
wrongs do not make a right,” Mr Gyles
CN VADM Ray Griggs extend-
ed Navy’s apologies for what he said
were “serious failings in their care and
management” after the sailors’ landing.
Part II states that the actions of the
senior sailors and others involved was
“still being scrutinised” through nor-
mal disciplinary and administrative
The management of the allegations
and personnel was at the centre of Part II
of the Commission of Inquiry.
Part II also vindicates the initial
Inquiry Officer’s reports by CMDR Niel
CMDR Wark and his team joined
Success between May 20-29 during a
naval exercise to inquire into the facts
and circumstances surrounding the
allegations of unacceptable behaviour.
CMDR Wark’s inquiry made
findings of wrongdoing, which subse-
quently resulted in notices to show cause
against certain sailors involved from
The Wark Inquiry was subsequent-
ly set aside through an alleged lack of
impartiality and unreasonableness in its
In Part II, Mr Gyles said CMDR
Wark “carried out a difficult assignment
well in trying circumstances” and reject-
ed claims of bias, prejudice and lack of
In response to this finding Air Chief
Marshal Angus Houston – prior to his
departure as Chief of the Defence Force
signed personal letters of apology
to CMDR Wark and LCDR Matthew
Vesper for the public criticisms made
about the conduct of their inquiry and
the content of their report.
CDF GEN David Hurley and CN
VADM Ray Griggs said they would
work to implement the recommenda-
“Clearly, the landed sailors in this
case were not given the due process that
was owed to them,” LT-GEN Hurley
VADM Griggs said action was being
initiated in regards to compensation.
He said Defence would invite the
sailors, through their legal representa-
tives, to participate in a mediation
process with a view to reaching an
The CN also stressed that media
reporting on July 7 that the sailors had
been found guilty of misconduct was
incorrect and the sailors’ conduct was
still being scrutinised.
Part III of the Commission of Inquiry
is expected late 2011.
Redacted versions of Parts I and II of the
Commission of Inquiry are available at: www.
Government set to sell ships
HMAS Manoora and 23 other ships
could be sold off as part of a policy
announced by the Government on
Defence Materiel Minister Jason
a request for the
industry to submit
proposals on how
ships should be dis-
posed of during the
include recycling the
ships for parts or sell-
ing within Australia or overseas.
This includes HMAS Manoora (pic-
tured), Adelaide-class frigates and mine
The ADF plans to upgrade or replace
up to 85 per cent of its equipment during
the next 15 years, in the biggest disposal
since World War II.
The sales will aim to generate money
to be re-invested in new military equip-
ment for Force 2030.
of this equipment in
bulk, it will increase
the amount of rev-
enue Defence can
raise and reinvest in
new equipment,” Mr
These sales will
form part a wider
Defence plan to dis-
pose of old vehicles,
aircraft, communications systems, weap-
ons and explosive ordinance.
Historically significant pieces will
still be made available to the Australian
War Memorial, RSLs and other histori-
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