Australia, Does it Need a Coast Guard?

In Australia most coast guard functions are handled by the Navy and Air Force. DefenceIQ has an interesting discussion of this alternate arrangement of responsibilities and its shortcomings.

I also note the Australian Navy and their Customs service both operate similar patrol vessels, the Armidale class and the Cape class, and if anything the Customs’ Cape class are more capable.

Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention.

12 thoughts on “Australia, Does it Need a Coast Guard?

  1. Why Not, I can see Australia forming a Coast Guard by combining the functions of their patrol boat force and the Customs service into an Australian Coast Guard.

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  3. On first blush, with 37,000 km of coastline, it seems like a no-brainer, but this simple question leads to so many more:

    Would it be a military service, civilian law enforcement service, or a combination? (And how does this fit, or not, with Australian law?)

    How would it be funded, and would that have a consequence on the other services? (I think Bill Wells thoughts and commentary on the creation of the USCG in 1915 would be very interesting on how this would work.)

    Complicated question…

    • Yes lots of ways to deal with the missions. Looking at the Irish Navy they are really more coast guard than navy. In the US we have duplication between Coast Guard and Customs. In Australia it is Customs and Navy.

  4. The Australian Federal Police, in jurisdiction terms, are also in the mix.

    I like the Armidales but I think given the amount of territory they need to cover they are far, far too small. I think something about 700 to 800 tons would be better. A modern variation of something like this perhaps?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peacock-class_corvette

    A better solution than forming a coastguard would be to increase the size of the Marine Unit and reduce the RAN patrol force but use a larger more “flighty” vessel with a better weapon and sensor fit like I suggested. The MU patrol inshore while the RAN providing out cover.

    • That’s why I think they need to get more for their patrol boat force & upgrade the existing Armidale class Patrol boats. I am thinking the Royal Australian navy can get a Corvette similar to the LCS or along the Lines of the SIGMA Class Corvette that can bridge between patrol and Combat duties. As far as for their Patrol boat force, I think they need to look at getting something along the lines of the Sentinel-class cutter to supplement the Armidale class Patrol boats.

  5. Australia already has the basis of a coast guard in the Customs Maritime Unit. The unit operates 8 Bay class patrol boats (being replaced by the Cape Class), 2 larger patrol ships (Triton and Ocean Protector) plus a number of smaller vessels. The problems are:

    1. The Navy (RAN) see’s the Maritime unit as a competitor for funding and are luke warm to the Unit and opposed to a formal coast guard.

    2. Australian politicians have not created any clear set of roles between what the RAN is responsible for and what Customs do.

    3. Politicians are capable of endless misuse of vessels (eg. throwing RAN frigates and Survey Vessels into the ‘Border Protection’ role). A task roundly hated by the crews.

    It would make sense to replace the RAN’s Armidale class patrol boats with a larger vessel but there has to be better set of roles and responsibilities between the 2 services. .

    Yes, I am an Australian. Amazing how more often than not, the real problem is in the politics.

  6. Report of an agreement to cooperate between the USCG and the Australian Federal Police.

    http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2465482/

    WASHINGTON — Senior leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Australian Federal Police signed a Memorandum of Understanding Friday at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters to highlight common missions, interests, capabilities, and opportunities for collaboration.

    The memorandum seeks to benefit the U.S. – Australia partnership by strengthening maritime cooperation, promoting personnel development, and fostering research into civil maritime law enforcement.

    Coast Guard Vice Adm. Charles D. Michel, deputy commandant for operations, and Andrew Colvin, commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, signed the memorandum.

    “This agreement allows the Coast Guard and the Australian Federal Police to combine our strengths in common missions, interests and capabilities,” said Michel. “Australia has long been an ally of the United States, and we look forward to continuing to work together on maritime operations.”

    “This MOU demonstrates the strength of the AFP and U.S. Coast Guard relationship and opens up new avenues of intelligence exchange,” said Colvin. “It highlights our joint efforts to disrupt transnational organised crime syndicates targeting Australia.”

    For more information or to request images of the event, please contact Donna Lohr at 202-372-2154.

  7. According to the German Navy blog, Marine Forum, “01 September, AUSTRALIA
    Austal has delivered CAPE YORK, the last of eight CAPE-class offshore patrol vessels built for the Australian Border Force (ABF).”

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