OPINION | Australia sees the West Philippine Sea in the South China Sea

Lieutenant Vincent Bornaghi conducts an officer of the watch manoeuvres exercise from the bridge wing of HMAS Toowoomba with the Philippine Navy patrol ship BRP Gregorio del Pilar as part of the regional presence deployment on November 26, 2023.

In the “differ where we must” dimension of dealing with China, Australia is wielding a new nomenclature stick (or schtick?). Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles talks about the “West Philippine Sea”, not just the “South China Sea”. Kicking away some of the dashes in China’s...


OPINION | Hanwha Ocean buying Austal would probably suit the United States

The US Navy littoral combat ship USS Oakland, which was built by Austal USA

It looks like the United States has changed Australia’s mind. In April, the Australians doubted private shipbuilder Austal could be sold to South Korea’s Hanwha Ocean, but now they have no concerns. The most likely explanation is that Australia at first worried about what the US would think but...


OPINION | The facts about Australia’s nuclear submarine program

The US Navy Los Angeles-class submarine USS Annapolis arriving alongside Diamantina Pier at Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling, Western Australia, March 10, 2024

Australia’s planned acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines is undoubtedly ambitious and risky, but the frequent negativity among Australian commentators is detached from the reality of the success to date of the plan’s progress and the wider strategic reasons for the project. More than a year...


OPINION | How the Collins submarine fleet went from near zero to hero

Four Collins-class submarines in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia

For most of the past decade, Australia’s six Collins-class submarines have provided the nation with a fine underwater warfare capability. As the Collins-class is designed to meet operational requirements beyond the capabilities of other conventional submarines, the government of the day has been...


OPINION | The cause for China’s coercion in the skies may lay under the water

A Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter launches a sonobuoy during an anti-submarine warfare training in 2020 off the coast of Jervis Bay, New South Wales

During the Cold War, it was not unheard of for Soviet ships to attempt to disrupt US naval operations by “shouldering” vessels, meaning coming abreast and colliding in a semi-controlled manner. A famous example is the Black Sea incident of 1988, when Soviet frigates “bumped” both USS Yorktown and...


OPINION | The cable shortage: plugging in offshore wind farms

An array of offshore wind turbines at an undisclosed location

Australia’s late entry into the offshore wind market is a welcome development for clean energy advocates. The federal government this month issued what it has called the first round of feasibility licenses to six companies to explore offshore wind farm projects off the coast of Victoria. Yet amid...


EDITORIAL | Cook Strait checkmate: new Solutions for safer New Zealand ferries

Kaitaki in Wellington Harbour, photo date unknown

Nearly 900 people were on KiwiRail Interislander’s 29-year-old ferry Kaitaki when it lost power in a storm in January 2023 whilst entering Wellington Harbour en route from Picton on the South Island. Thankfully, nobody died and in the end, the passengers remained safely on the ship rather than...


COLUMN | Big is better? Big finds in Namibia; big losses at Gazprom; big sale at Edda Wind; big problems at Petrofac [Offshore Accounts]

Every day, the world uses around one hundred million barrels of oil. The term “big oil” is used pejoratively to describe the industry’s lobbying power. But is big always better? This week, we look at both the biggest and the best, and the biggest and the worst of the oil industry. Big finds:...


OPINION | Mitigating the imminent fall in the navy’s surface fleet

HMAS Anzac returns to Fleet Base West, Western Australia upon the completion of the ship's regional presence deployment, September 11, 2023

We’ve had plenty of defence announcements so far this year. Many have rightly focused on Australia’s situation and vulnerabilities as an island trading nation, one whose daily survival depends on the fuel, fertiliser, pharmaceuticals, and other essentials imported by sea. This awakening has been...


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