Navy’s drive towards building a battle-ready fleet took a major step forward in late November, with the inaugural Defence Seaworthiness Symposium held in Canberra.
The two-day conference at the Australian Defence Force Academy brought together 500 military, industry and Defence maritime experts for a series of workshops and discussions on ways to ensure air and sea operations are conducted safely and sustainably.
The symposium was focused on the theme ‘Reform to Transform - Seaworthiness as a Defence-wide priority’, and was designed to help stakeholders who are required to comply with the Defence Seaworthiness Management System (DSwMS).
The Defence Seaworthiness Management System provides a framework for regulation and assurance and reduces the regulatory burden on organisations.
It also gives organisations working in the Defence maritime space more flexibility to respond to risks and hazards in the most appropriate way.
The System is designed to help the Chiefs of Navy, Army and Air Force (known as Capability Managers in DSwMS) make informed decisions about the condition of a vessel.
For senior leaders, it provides them with a sound understanding of risk and gives them confidence that decisions are being made with a commitment to maximising operational effectiveness.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, opened the symposium in his capacity as the Defence Seaworthiness Authority.
He said Seaworthiness was a central pillar of Navy’s Plan Pelorus strategy for 2022.
“Navy is adopting a risk-savvy approach, by implementing the system across the entire capability life cycle to ensure future platforms are seaworthy by design.
“We are also continuing to remediate configuration management of all systems and platforms as well as updating our safety due diligence framework and developing a holistic assurance framework covering all aspects of safety, seaworthiness, airworthiness and cyber-worthiness.
“This framework is being embedded across Navy, and through this event, more broadly in the Defence maritime community,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
Navy Headquarters Chief-of-Staff, Commodore Katherine Richards, has played a key role in developing Navy’s Seaworthiness Compliance Strategy.
She encouraged Symposium delegates to embrace the motivation behind developing a Compliance Strategy, as much as realising the benefits from it.
“Seaworthiness is not only a good and smart thing to do - it is fundamentally the right thing to do.
“Navy might be the biggest stakeholder, but I believe all stakeholders will benefit from this process and emerge stronger and more confident as a result,” Commodore Richards said.