Australia naval ship had 'predatory' sex culture

An Australian report released on Tuesday found that a "predatory" sex culture existed among Australian sailors on the naval supply ship HMAS Success in which misconduct was covered by silence and fear.

The report by retired judge Roger Gyles said it was not possible to confirm media reports that a sex ledger existed which placed dollar values on the sexual conquest of designated female sailors.

But he said some sailors had placed a bounty on one female colleague, adding "there was evidence of predatory sexual behaviour" among elements of the crew.

"The existence of competitions to have sex with nominated females, as organised in the engine room, had been part of the folklore on Success since at least 2004," wrote Gyles.

Australia opened the probe into the 2009 Success incidents last March, after an initial inquiry failed to deliver any findings and was judged biased by legal experts.

Gyles examined a period between March and May 2009 when the Success, designed to supply naval combat units with fuel, ammunition, food and stores at sea, was deployed to the Philippines, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

He reported several onshore incidents including the collapse of sailors due to excess alcohol consumption in Hong Kong and public sex in a bar in China's Qingdao as others watched.

"No doubt the considerable volume of alcohol that was consumed by many members of the crew, male and female, was a factor contributing to virtually every untoward incident," Gyles wrote.

The report found that a group of senior "marine technical" (MT) engine room sailors had enjoyed "a culture of silence and mutual protection" that prevented colleagues from making complaints against them when they misbehaved.

"A combination of a culture of silence and mutual protection among MT sailors and intimidation and fear of repercussions on the part of those contemplating complaints against MT sailors provided a powerful cover against exposure of poor behaviour," he said.

In releasing the report, Defence Minister Stephen Smith said such behaviour would not be tolerated and a plan had been developed to address the issues identified.

"The report makes for very sorry and confronting reading about the failure of personal conduct, about the failure of discipline, and the failure of authority and the inappropriate culture aboard the Success," Smith said.

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