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Navy Responds To Seamanship Review

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa
May 23, 2008
Media Release

Navy Responds To Seamanship Review

The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) will establish a new position dedicated to seamanship as a response to an independent review, the Navy announced today.

Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Ledson, says a number of improvements are to be introduced to training and the conduct of exercises at sea as a result of the review of seamanship, which was he initiated earlier in the year. The review was conducted by seamanship experts from the Royal Navy (U.K).

He says the review had identified shortcomings in the way in which the Navy currently trains its personnel in seamanship and the way in which seamanship evolutions are conducted.

“Being able to do seamanship the safe way and the right way is fundamental to the Navy being able to operate its ships at sea – around New Zealand and further afield,” says Admiral Ledson.

“Consistent with the Navy’s commitment to safety and to excellence, where the Royal Navy review has identified areas where improvements are required, then I am committed that those improvements be made.”

“I expect to shortly appoint an officer at an appropriate rank who will be responsible for re-establishing seamanship as a core Navy skill and with implementing all of the recommendations of the review,” he says.

The Commanding Officer of each Navy ship has been directed to review their current practices in line with the Royal Navy review and a Petty Officer Safety Course will also be developed.

Admiral Ledson says the RNZN initiated the review after a Court of Inquiry into the death of sailor AHSO Byron Solomon raised a number of associated observations on the conduct of seamanship in the RNZN.

While the observations did not contribute to the RHIB capsize incident, they did identify issues around the conduct of seamanship training, competencies and practices in the Navy.

The Royal Navy team arrived in New Zealand in February and spent two weeks conducting their review. It had two phases:

* A harbour phase during which they examined and reviewed the infrastructure, training and management of seamanship in the Navy, and

* A sea phase onboard the frigate TE MANA and the amphibious sealift ship CANTERBURY during which they observed and evaluated the conduct of seamanship exercises.

“The Royal Navy review gives us the opportunity to improve our performance in this important area. We are committed to ensuring that the opportunity is fully exploited,” says Admiral Ledson.


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