The various whinges from the commentariat about the MV Oceanic Viking‘s “late” departure amuse me. One, it shows how shallow their “analysis” is. Two, it shows how poorly Australia’s defences have been managed.
The Oceanic Viking is going to monitor Japanese whaling off Australia. But it hadn’t left port by early January, and the civilian charter aircraft also tasked to this surveillance role hadn’t yet received regulatory approval. Newspapers started saying it’s all talk and no action from the Rudd government.
Perhaps. But there are other possibilities.
Perhaps with the civilian monitor ship in port, the Japanese will be lulled into a false sense of security when in fact they’re already being monitored by a navy submarine or a RAAF P-3 Orion. Perhaps the “late” departure is planned according to whatever intelligence we have on the movements of the Japanese whaling fleet to use the ship’s time most effectively — rather than spend weeks on a pointless Antarctic cruise.
Perhaps. Or perhaps not.
But, Dear Armchair Warriors of the Daily Press, if the mission isn’t unfolding as you in your “expert opinion” think it should that doesn’t automatically mean incompetence. It might just mean your part-time understanding of the mission is less sophisticated than the folks who deal with these issues full time.
On the other hand, it does worry me that fisheries surveillance is handled in what appears to be such an ad hoc manner.
The need to monitor our fisheries zone and international waters beyond is hardly new. While blue-water fisheries patrol boats and aircraft aren’t as sexy as jet fighters and main battle tanks — or as capable of generating lucrative kickbacks — they’re a more immediate and obvious need.
Just why, after a decade of so-called effective management by A Certain Conservative Government, do we have to mount this whaling monitoring mission using a leased ship and a chartered airliner? Why don’t we have specific resources designed for the task?