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Report: Canterbury commissioning process flawed

Wayne Mapp MP
National Party Defence Spokesman

18 April 2008

Report confirms Canterbury commissioning process flawed

National’s Defence spokesman, Wayne Mapp, is pleased the court of inquiry into the death of Able Seaman Byron Solomon has been concluded.

“This will bring some sense of closure for the family, friends, and colleagues of Mr Solomon.

“Some of the inquiry’s findings are very concerning, including that the rigid-hulled inflatable boat, which Mr Solomon was on when it capsized, failed to meet safety standards.

“The inquiry also found that it was highly unlikely the Canterbury’s inflatable boats met minimum safety requirements.

“It is clear that the commissioning process for the Canterbury was flawed and that non-compliant modifications to the ship were made without approval.

“The navy’s own report on the commissioning process, details of which were leaked to the media earlier this year, shows that because the Government was so keen to build it within budget and on time, short-cuts were made and safety was compromised.

“The findings make for sober reading. The navy has been told that ‘Standard Operating Procedures for the implications of key equipment failure have yet to be developed’.

“Already, the Auditor-General is looking into the contract under which the Canterbury was purchased. The court of inquiry shows that unauthorised modifications were being made to the ship.

“It is imperative now that the Government assures our Defence Force personnel that it will take the findings very seriously and that their safety will not be compromised by hasty decision making in the future.

“I look forward to the review of the safety and functionality of the Canterbury that the Government has announced, and hope it will be as comprehensive as possible.”

ENDS

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