Australian Navy warned to end culture of alcohol-fuelled debauchery
The head of the Australian Navy demanded an end to the culture of alcohol-fuelled debauchery within the service.
Addressing the entire Navy by video link, Vice-Admiral Russ Crane threatened to ban alcohol consumption during port visits while overseas, and to increase shore patrols unless there was total cultural reform. He warned mariners that they would be subject to mandatory breath tests, drug testing and curfews if they did not radically improve their behaviour
His stern message came after the release earlier this year of a 400-page report detailing sordid behaviour on-board HMAS Success in 2009.
The report examined allegations of a "predatory culture" and drunken misconduct on the ship, with sailors accused of preying on young female recruits and putting bets on how many colleagues they could sleep with as part of a "sex ledger".
Among the embarrassing revelations were reports that mariners could earn extra "points" by sleeping with a female officer or for having sexual intercourse with a lesbian. Points were also awarded for sex in adventurous or outlandish locations, such as the top of a pool table. At the end of the tour the eventual winner would receive a cash prize.
The claims covered a period between March and May, 2009, when the ship, which is designed to supply naval combat units with fuel, ammunition and food while at sea, was deployed to the Philippines, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
"The navy is not immune from the alcohol problems which confront this nation, especially when it comes to binge drinking, but we must hold ourselves to higher standard," Adm Crane said.
"If we need to test 100pc of our people, then this will be done."
The report into HMAS Success also raised serious issues about discipline and the treatment of women, he said.
"I cannot accept a situation where women in the workplace or on ships feel threatened by their male counterparts.
"This type of behaviour must and will be eradicated."
While alcohol is a problem in the navy, Australia's military has previously acknowledged drug concerns too, revealing last year that nearly 600 personnel had been caught taking illegal drugs and steroids in the past five years.
In December, the Australian Defence Force seized suspected illegal drugs and steroids in a series of raids following claims that sailors were operating a trafficking ring at a central Sydney base.