Navy cracks down on drunken sailors

Lisa Martin
The Australian Navy is cracking down on drunken behaviour by its sailors following several arrests

The Navy has moved to crack down on the drunken behaviour of Australian sailors on shore leave overseas.

Navy Chief Tim Barrett told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday there had been seven Australian sailors arrested in Singapore in the past year.

He emphasised the number of incidents was small in the context of 2500 sailors visiting on various ships.

The incidents ranged from spraying water on a taxi driver to those of a more serious nature.

"The tolerance in Singapore is not to accept that and the consequences have been arrest," Vice Admiral Barrett told the hearing.

He warned those caught could be incarcerated for long periods and have their passports seized.

"If it occurs the ship may sail but the sailor may not," he said.

One sailor spent six weeks in a Singapore jail cell last year.

A fleet directive, obtained by the ABC, said caning is conducted on Thursdays and Fridays and screaming can be heard from the cells.

Prisoners caned do not receive medical attention, when they return to their cells.

"Conditions in Singapore jails are harsh compared to here," Vice Admiral Barrett said.

There was no alcohol drinking ban for shore leave, but the Navy wants sailors to moderate their behaviour.