Decomissioned Warships as Refugee Bays

The recently retired HMAS Adelaide has today made her final journey from Sydney Harbour to the Central Coast, following much controversy about her sinking. Much to the horror and absolute objections of many Australians, she will be scuttled to the briny depths of the Australian ocean on Wednesday, 15th April, 2011.

The impractical and wasteful approach of the Australian Government to decommissioned warships is hateful. Quite aside from the environmental impacts upon marine life, the sheer magnitude of stupidity in sinking a fully operational ship, fully fitted to support a crew of several hundred for months on end is unthinkable.

In Australia we have a situational refugee crisis. We have insufficient space to house these unfortunates and they are being penned, like farmyard animals and kept in less than adequate living conditions, to say the least, for months and sometimes years on end, without reprieve or release. There is talk of building more and bigger establishments to house these people in alternative parts of the country at an as yet un-named date.

The conditions upon these ships are favourable, clean, organised and secure with fully equipped galleys, medical quarters, officer quarters, etc; I.e. everything needed to house hundreds of people for up to months on end in clean, structured comfort. Thus the solution is obvious; utilise these decommissioned, yet fully operational ocean-going crafts to house these and future refugees until such times as they are processed.

Why waste an asset which could so adequately be put to good use in this way by the Australian Government. Alternatively, HMAS Adelaide and other ships like her ought to be donated to or claimed by Unicef to be used for precisely this purpose. In this way, may the refugee situation in Australia, (and other regions) which currently stands as unacceptable, both to UNICEF and indeed any caring citizen of the world, may be sorted, at least in part, in a much more humane and secure way. If necessary, these retired war ships, which would become floating refugee bays, could also be moved to neutral waters in the event of conflict, as often occurs in these refugee resultant situations.

I put it to anyone who may be in a position to facilitate or fast track this procedure, to contact the Australian Government, or even the Australian opposition party; who I am certain would be grateful for the ‘ticket‘ such a motion would confer to them; in order to instigate this matter, both with HMAS Adelaide and future decommissioned warships.

It is a simple, practical solution which facilitates one problem, whilst preventing another; it is more cost-effective, less labour intensive, more secure and certainly a far more acceptable and humane approach to a worsening and growing refugee problem within Australia and other parts of the world.

© Lady Opine, 2011, Columnist, Tezi Magazine.


Pennant FFG 01 Type Surface Combatant Classification Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) Class Adelaide Class Launched 21 June 1978 Commissioned 15 November 1980 Decommissioned 19 January 2008 Displacement 4200 tonnes4,200,000 kg
4,200,000,000 g
9,259,412.4 lb
148,150,640.4 oz Length 138.1 metres13,810 cm
0.138 km
0.0858 mi
453.084 ft
5,437.008 in Beam 14.3 metres1,430 cm
0.0143 km
0.00889 mi
46.916 ft
562.992 in Armament

76mm Rapid Fire Gun

Harpoon Anti-ship Missiles

SM2 Surface-to-Air Missiles

Evolved Sea Sparrow Surface-to-Air Missiles

Mk 41 Vertical Launch System

Mk 13 Missile Launcher

Phalanx Close-in Weapons System

Nulka, Pirate, Seagnat and Lescut decoy systems

2 Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes

Mk 46 torpedoes


Up to two Seahawk helicopters

Main Machinery

Two General Electric LM2500 gas turbines driving a single controllable pitch propeller

one test

Speed 30 knots15.433 m/s
55.56 km/h
0.0154 km/s
3,038.059 ft/min
50.634 ft/s

Company 221

Battle Honours

Pacific 1941-43

East Indies 1942

East Timor 1999