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Tuesday, 9 October 1984
Page: 1981

(Question No. 1681)


Mr Jacobi asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 24 August 1984:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to an article in the Age of 21 August 1984, which reported the Commander-in-Chief of US forces in the Pacific as stating that the construction of new military support facilities at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam could result in an alarming Soviet military presence in South East Asia and threaten trade and communication routes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans that are vital to Australia, and further that the Pacific fleet had become the largest of the Soviet Union's 4 fleets and comprised more than 30 per cent of the Soviet navy.

(2) Is he able to provide details of the movement of Soviet naval ships in the north, west and south Pacific; if not, why not.

(3) Has his attention also been drawn to recent reports concerning the placement of mines in Red Sea waters, and the necessity for joint Egyptian, US, British and French operations to remove these mines; if so, do these events, and other recent events, indicate the importance of comprehensive data on naval movements in the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf.

(4) Will he undertake to provide information on these movements.

(5) Will he bring up to date the information given in answer to question No. 862 parts (1) and (5) (Hansard, 28 February 1984, pages 109-110) concerning the movement of naval ships in the Indian Ocean, and possible significant development for Soviet naval purposes at Dahlak Island, Aden, Socotra and the Bay of Turbah.


Mr Scholes —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) Comprehensive and detailed data on naval movements in the North and West Pacific is derived from a variety of sources, including sensitive intelligence sources and information made available by allies on a confidential basis. It would not be appropriate for the Australian Government to make such data publicly available. There has been no significant naval activity in the South Pacific since the information given in response to your question No. 160 ( Hansard, 6 September 1983, page 439).

(3) Yes.

(4) As with the data on naval movements in the North West Pacific, data on movements in these areas is derived from a variety of sources, including sensitive intelligence sources and information made available by allies. However , the information provided below in response to Question 5 on Indian Ocean activity, which is drawn from unclassified sources, takes in naval ship movements in these peripheral waters.

(5) Monthly class/day figures of Soviet naval and naval associated ships which operated in the Indian Ocean during the period 1st November 1983 to 31st August 1984 are shown in the following table. The information given in response to previous questions concerning developments at Dahlak Island, Aden, Socotra Island, and the Bay of Turbah remains current.

Soviet Naval Activity Indian Ocean (ship days) November 1983-August 1984

Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May Jun. Jul. Aug.

Aircraft Carrier

KIEV 30 31 31 15 - - - - - - Cruisers

MOSKVA - - - - - - - - - 9 KARA 35 62 62 44 31 28 - - - - Destroyers

KASHIN 30 20 - - - - - - - - KOTLIN - - - - - - 26 30 31 31 Frigate

KRIVAK 35 62 68 73 42 30 57 60 52 50 PETYA - 7 - - - - - - - - Submarines

ECHO II 30 3 - - - - - - - - MOD ECHO II - 12 31 15 9 - - - - - FOXTROT - 12 31 29 62 46 31 22 - - CHARLIE - - - 11 31 30 31 48 31 31 KILO - - - - - - - - 20 31 Patrol Craft

NANUCHKA - - - - - 5 31 12 - - Minesweeper

NATYA 31 22 - 8 9 - - 26 31 48 Landing Ships

ROPUCHA 32 62 38 29 31 30 31 22 - - IVAN ROGOV 5 31 31 15 - - - - - - ALLIGATOR - - - - - 5 31 30 31 40 Auxiliaries

TUGS 30 31 31 33 62 33 31 30 44 31 OILERS 49 104 119 66 31 30 31 30 38 47 REPAIRSHIPS 30 31 31 29 48 46 31 30 31 31 SUB TENDERS 12 - - 8 31 30 31 30 31 31 MERCHANT TANKERS 60 62 43 51 62 60 77 35 32 31 MISCELLANEOUS 120 139 150 140 124 130 133 162 131 137 OCEANOGRAPHIC 120 117 93 66 - 25 53 50 44 88 HYDROGRAPHIC 30 61 93 80 62 59 31 30 42 57 INTEL COLLECTORS - - 18 29 31 28 - - - 31 HOSPITAL SHIPS - 31 1 29 31 30 3 - - -