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...


OPINION | Between them, Australia, France and India can watch the Indian Ocean

The runway at Cocos Keeling Islands taken from a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion aircraft, November 10, 2016

Australia, France, and India ought to be cooperating more closely in the surveillance of the Indian Ocean through their valuably located islands, enhancing the awareness of each of country without additional cost. They should first share information that they’re already collecting, then move as...


OPINION | Start thinking now about alternatives to AUKUS Pillar 1

The Virginia-class submarine USS North Carolina pulls into Naval Station Norfolk following a brief deployment, May 7, 2008.

The program to equip the Royal Australian Navy with nuclear submarines is in trouble. The takeaway: Australia must begin thinking now about what to do to avoid program failure. Why has this situation arisen? First, the prospective program costs are enormous and have been badly underestimated....


OPINION | Out of focus: Australia neglects western Indian Ocean

An Indian Navy helicopter hovers near the Malta-flagged bulk carrier Ruen after the pirates that had seized the vessel surrendered following a months-long standoff in the Arabian Sea, March 16, 2024.

The Quad partners often discuss the Indo-Pacific, but they hold differing views on what exactly it is. That disparity has tangible effects, such as Australia’s diminished interest in piracy in the western Indian Ocean compared with its Quad partners. While China consistently demonstrates interest...


AWARDS 2023 | Best Security Landing Craft – Island Guardian – Norman R. Wright and Sons

Best Security Landing Craft – Island Guardian – Norman R. Wright and Sons This fast, truly multi-purpose craft from Queensland’s renowned Norman R. Wright and Sons has a multitude of roles. It combines those of patrol boat, landing craft, Ro-Pax ferry, research vessel, general work boat and more...


OPINION | Fremantle’s wartime past serves as AUKUS submarine prologue

US Navy submarines and the submarine tender USS Pelias at Fremantle Submarine Base in Western Australia, 1943

The strategic potential of Submarine Rotational Force-West, the AUKUS initiative that commits the United States and United Kingdom to forward-deploy a small flotilla of nuclear-powered attack submarines to HMAS Stirling, near Fremantle, isn’t adequately appreciated. Fortunately, history has set an instructive if insufficiently known precedent. During World War II, from a precarious start, Fremantle was […]

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OPINION | Wartime trade: it’s not just military supply

Cargo ship sailing near a bridge at sunset, location unknown

The vulnerability of Australia’s trade routes to military coercion was highlighted by both last year’s Defence Strategic Update and by government commentary on the rationale for AUKUS. In his critique of ASPI’s new report, The trade routes vital to Australia’s economic security, Richard Dunley...


COLUMN | Correcting course: Aramco and jackups; Siem Offshore and Kristian Siem; Ferguson Marine; MMA Offshore; Maersk/Svitzer [Offshore Accounts]

Harold Macmillan was supposedly once asked what the most troubling problem of his time as British Prime Minister was. “Events, my dear boy, events,” was his reply. I thought I had this week’s column nailed well in advance, but offshore is an industry especially susceptible to unexpected and hard to predict “events”. So, we must […]

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