The Australian Navy is cracking down on sailors’ alcohol consumption

Royal Australian Navy sailors will have to be more careful on shore leaves in the future as the navy is reportedly starting a crackdown on drunken sailors in foreign ports.

Illustration: Australian Navy HMAS Warramunga sits alongside at the Port of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

According to a report by the Australian ABC, the navy has issued a new fleet directive which includes curfews and mandatory breath testing and applies to sailors of all ranks.

The new directive is reportedly in response to recent incidents in overseas ports involving Australian navy personnel.

The measures are being taken to restore the trust that government and senior ADF leadership has in the Fleet after it was undermined by ongoing poor behaviour of a minority of personnel.

The new directive also warns sailors about the possible consequences of drinking in foreign ports.

A document of the directive leaked to the ABC focuses on an incident from October 2017 in Singapore in which an Australian sailor was imprisoned for six weeks following an alcohol-related incident.

In the document, the sailor describes the conditions in two prisons he was detained in, the Changi Prison and Admiralty West. Detainees in the Changi prison sleep on a grass mat on the concrete floor without a pillow and get only one hour a day outside the cell. Daylight enters the cells through small holes drilled in a steel plate and temperatures in the cells reach 35C as there is no air conditioning.

According to the document, the sailor also spoke about the caning taking place at Admiralty West. “Screaming can be heard from the cells. Prisoners are returned to the cells after caning, without medical attention.”

The new directive for Singapore visits orders the sailors to return from leave by 23:00 and limits their alcohol consumption to three standard drinks over a 24-hour period.

The ABC report further said that sailors were not pleased with the new directive and one sailors even said the new rules could prompt sailors to take drugs instead of alcohol.

“I believe that some personnel, if they can’t get a ‘high’ from getting ‘on the drink’, may be inclined to take drugs,” the report quoted a sailor as saying.