Crispin Hull / Mystery Ship on the Horizon

Kuroda off Port Douglas

Port Douglas residents awoke to a large vessel anchored less than two kilometres off Island Point yesterday morning. And it was still there today. What is it, they asked.

The international Automatic Identification System for ships revealed it as US Army Vessel Kuroda. Its last port of call was Cairns which it left on Monday night.

The vessel is 87 metres long and 18 metres wide. It has a very low draft and is capable of loading and unloading material from either the bow or the stern in less than four metres of water. The chart shows the vessel is in about 10 metres of water.

What is it doing there?

Good question.

I put that question and others to both the Australian Department of Defence and the US Army.

The US Army sent me an acknowledgement and said they would refer it to their media relations people who would get back to me as soon as they had some answers.

There has been nothing from the Australian Department of Defence. That, unfortunately, is fairly typical. Australian journalists frequently get information about military goings on in Australia from official US sources when Australian authorities remain mute. After a general question asking what it was doing there to satisfy local curiosity, I also asked: “Can you confirm whether it has an Australian pilot on board, as required by Australian law for civilian commercial vessels over 50 metres in the Great Barrier Marine Park zone?

I understand that though the US is not a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the US military generally abides by it and by local laws.”

Any updates will be posted when they arrive.

Crispin Hull, former editor of The Canberra Times and regular columnist.

Kuroda off Port Douglas

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2 months ago

OK…it’s not very often I get angry/annoyed…

I really hope YOU, Crispin Hull become educated about this regular allied forces exercise and then apologise to our ADF personnel that are employed to defend us – regarding your ignorance! Crispin, as you actually state here in this ‘article’, you don’t know what/who/why is located offshore…so, then don’t ‘report your opinions and/or your flippant shite’! Oh, and just maybe for our COLLECTIVE safety, the ‘results’ CANNOT BE PUBLISHED for our SAFETY?!? Jus’ sayin’ ffs!!!

It’s Talisman Sabre that’s here again now – off shore and on land – undertaking field exercises to ready our troops in case of attack/defense or deployment…it’s real field work – our ADF personnel rough it for days/weeks/months…they give themselves – physically and mentally – for us and our safety and freedoms. This is what our ADF and allies do to make sure we’re as safe as can be. They deserve our utmost respect! They’re our family!

My absolute thanks to our ADF and I 100% acknowledge they encounter and undertake many things that none of us would be able to cope with!!! Thank you #ADF #army #navy #airforce

Consider making this ridiculous (and ignorant) publication right Crispin…for the general Australian public and our Allied friends, but most especially because of our current and past service men and women of the ADF, including our beautiful and honourable Veterans!