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4.4.11 Claims relating to asbestos exposure while serving on certain RAN vessels

Document
Last amended 
13 May 2020

The policy below addresses the historically widespread use of asbestos-containing components on Royal Australian Navy vessels over a long period.

The policy recognises that although the potential for exposure to asbestos existed aboard these vessels, it can be difficult to establish in individual cases that an exposure occurred. Therefore, in the event that a veteran with service as set out in this policy does develop an asbestos-related disease, the policy acknowledges that such exposure may have occurred and allows claims to be decided quickly, provided the veteran meets the policy requirements.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs emphasises that this policy should in no way be a cause for undue concern among veterans who served on these ships, and should not be taken to imply a significantly elevated risk of asbestos-related disease among these personnel, or that exposure definitely would have occurred in any individual case.  

Claims for Asbestos-Related Conditions: Royal Australian Navy Service 1940-2003

Where any claimant contended exposure to asbestos in the course of service, delegates have previously been required to seek advice confirming the exposure through the Defence Single Access Mechanism (SAM). As part of the subsequent investigation, claimants have been required to complete a questionnaire. The investigative process is often a lengthy one.

The Repatriation and Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission has agreed that for those who served on board any of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships listed below between 1 January 1940 and 31 December 2003, it no longer necessary to seek case-by-case confirmation of asbestos exposure as it is known that asbestos was likely to be present on those ships during that period.

In August 2019, the Repatriation Commission further agreed that, for the purpose of the application of Statements of Principles (SoPs) under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986, 75 per cent of an individual’s time served on the listed RAN ships between 1 January 1940 and 31 December 2003 will be taken to have been rendered in an enclosed environment containing respirable asbestos fibres. This is relevant because the SoPs for a number of conditions include a factor relating to being in an enclosed environment containing respirable asbestos fibres for a prescribed amount of time.

Where 75 per cent of time spent on the listed ships within the relevant period is equal to or greater than the cumulative total time spent in an enclosed environment containing respirable asbestos fibres prescribed by a factor in the SoP for a claimed condition, that SoP factor will to be taken to be met.  No additional confirmation of exposure to asbestos is required where the claim is for an asbestos-related condition connected to service aboard any of the vessels listed below, where that service was rendered between 1 January 1940 and 31 December 2003 and 75 per cent of the time aboard the vessel meets the relevant enclosed environment SoP factor.

The list of vessels has been provided by the Department of Defence and shows ships on board which members may have been exposed to asbestos during the relevant period. For any claims which relate to service other than on board any of the listed vessels during the relevant period, the previous policy must still be followed, and a request for confirmation should still be sought via Defence SAM. If a client claims service on a RAN ship not in the below list, please check with the Liability and Service Eligibility policy section before raising a SAM request.

It should be noted that while this policy change primarily affects claims by RAN veterans, it applies equally to members of all armed services, i.e. where an Army or Air Force member served aboard a listed ship, there is likewise no need to seek individual confirmation of exposure from Defence.

While this policy removes the need to seek confirmation of asbestos exposure in relation to certain claims, a connection between any claimed condition and asbestos exposure must still be established.  All the normal legislative requirements must still be met in relation to establishing a connection to service, including ensuring that all components of the relevant SoP factor are met.

Further, while this policy is intended to assist in the speedy resolution of claims that meet the requirements set out in the policy, it should not be used as a reason to reject claims.  Where a claim does not meet the requirements for acceptance under this policy, other possible avenues, such as other relevant SoP factors, and/or other potential asbestos exposures should be investigated in line with existing claims processing guidelines.

The basis of the end date of 31 December 2003 is that the importation and installation of new asbestos components was prohibited after this date. It is understood that in practice, the use of asbestos in RAN vessels was becoming more and more limited by this time.

In addition, Navy was directed to remove asbestos from ships by 31 December 2010. Some exposures after this date are known to have occurred, but these are well documented. Similar documentation is likely to exist for any exposures which occurred after 31 December 2003. For this reason, where a claim relates to contended exposure to asbestos after this date, individual confirmation should be sought from Defence.

Please note that, where a date range ending with ‘present’ is given in the list below, this reflects only the fact that at the time when the list was provided by the Department of Defence, the vessel was still in RAN service.  The last relevant date of service for the purposes of this policy remains 31 December 2003.

Further to this, the RAN follows a tradition whereby should a ship be decommissioned its name may be used on subsequent ships.  Members tend to refer to the ship without making distinctions as to its commissioning date.  So, although a client may have technically served on HMAS Melbourne II or HMAS Melbourne III they would likely consider that they served on the HMAS Melbourne and not make such a distinction clear in their claim.  The claimant's date of service will indicate which iteration of the ship they served on.

Ship

Period in Use

HMAS Acute

1969 - 1983

HMAS Adelaide I

1922 - 1946

HMAS Adelaide II

1980 – 2008

HMAS Adroit

1968 - 1994

HMAS Advance

1968 - 1988

HMAS Aitape

1967 - 1975

HMAS Anzac I

1951 - 1974

HMAS Anzac II

1996  - Present

HMAS Archer

1968 - 1973

HMAS Arrow

1968 - 1974

HMAS Arunta I

1942 – 1968

HMAS Arunta II

1998 – Present

HMAS Assail

1968 – 1985

HMAS Attack

1967 - 1985

HMAS Aware

1968 – 1993

HMAS Balikpapan

1974 - 2012

MSA Bandicoot

1991 - 2010

HMAS Bandolier

1968 – 1973

HMAS Banks

1960 – 1995

HMAS Barbette

1968 – 1985

HMAS Barcoo

1944 - 1963

HMAS Barricade

1968 – 1982

HMAS Barwon

1945 – 1962

HMAS Bass

1960 - 1994

HMAS Bataan

1945 - 1958

HMAS Bathurst

1940 – 1948

HMAS Bayonet

1969 – 1988

HMAS Benalla I

1943- 1958

HMAS Benalla II

1990 – Present

HMAS Bendigo I

1941 – 1947

HMAS Bendigo II

1983 – 2006

MSA Bermagui

1994 – 2000

HMAS Betano

1974 – 2012

HMAS Bingera

1940 – 1946

HMAS Black snake

1944 - 1945

HMAS Bombard

1968 – 1983

HMAS Boonaroo

1967- 1967

HMAS Bowen

1942 – 1956

HMAS Brisbane II

1967 – 2001

MSA Brolga

1988 – 2002

HMAS Broome I

1942 - 1946

HMAS Brunei

1971 – 2014

HMAS Buccaneer

1969 - 1985

HMAS Buna

1973 - 1974

HMAS Bunbury I

1942 - 1961

HMAS Bunbury II

1984 - 2005

HMAS Bundaberg I

1942 - 1961

HMAS Bungaree

1940 – 1946

HMAS Burdekin

1944 – 1946

HMAS Burnie

1941 – 1946

HMAS Cairns

1942 – 1946

HMAS Canberra II

1981 - 2005

HMAS Cape Leeuwin

1943 – 1945

HMAS Carroo

1942 – 1946

MSA Carole-S

1993 – 1994

HMAS Castlemaine

1942 – 1945

HMAS Cessnock I

1942 – 1947

HMAS Cessnock II

1983 – 2005

HMAS Colac

1942 – 1983

HMAS Collins

1996 – Present

HMAS Condamine

1945 – 1962

HMAS Cook

1980 – 1990

HMAS Cootamundra

1943 – 1962

HMAS Cowra

1943 – 1961

HMAS Culgoa

1945 – 1962

HMAS Curlew

1962 – 1991

HMAS Darwin

1984 – Present

HMAS Dechaineux

2001 – Present

HMAS Deloraine

1941 – 1956

HMAS Derwent

1964 – 1994

HMAS Diamantina I

1945 – 1981

HMAS Diamantina II

2002 – Present

HMAS Dubbo I

1942 – 1958

HMAS Dubbo II

1984 – 2006

HMAS Duchess

1964 – 1977

HMAS Echuca

1942- 1952

HMAS Farncomb

1998 – Present

HMAS Falie

1940 – 1946

HMAS Flinders

1973 – 1998

HMAS Forceful

1942 – 1943

HMAS Fremantle I

1943 – 1961

HMAS Fremantle II

1980 – 2006

HMAS Gascoyne I

1946 – 1966

HMAS Gascoyne II

2001 – Present

HMAS Gawler I

1942 – 1946

HMAS Gawler II

1983 – 2006

HMAS Gayundah

1944 – 1981

HMAS Geelong I

1942 – 1944

HMAS Geelong II

1984 – 2006

HMAS Geraldton I

1942 – 1946

HMAS Geraldton II

1983 – 2006

HMAS Gladstone I

1943 – 1956

HMAS Gladstone II

1984 – 2007

HMAS Glenelg I

1942 – 1957

HMAS Goorangai

1939 – 1940

HMAS Goulburn

1941 – 1947

HMAS Gull

1962 – 1972

HMAS Gunbar

1940 – 1946

HMAS Gympie

1942 – 1961

HMAS Hawk I

1940 – 1945

HMAS Hawk II

1962 – 1976

HMAS Hawkesbury I

1944 – 1955

HMAS Hawkesbury II

2000 – Present

HMAS HDML 1347

 1945 – 1946

HMAS Heros

1940 – 1942, 1943 – 1947

HMAS Hobart II

1965- 2000

HMAS Horsham

1942 – 1961

HMAS Huon

1999 – Present

HMAS Ibis

1962 – 1984

HMAS Inverell

1942 – 1952

HMAS Ipswich I

1942 – 1946

HMAS Ipswich II

1982 – 2007

HMAS Jeparit

1969 – 1971

HMAS Jervis Bay I

1977 – 1996

HMAS Jervis Bay II

1999 – 2001

HMAS Junee

1944 – 1958

HMAS Kalgoorlie

1942 – 1946

HMAS Kangaroo

1940 – 1955

HMAS Kanimbla I

1943 – 1949

HMAS Kanimbla II

1994 – 2011

HMAS Kapunda

1942 – 1961

HMAS Kara Kara

1941 – 1972

HMAS Katoomba

1940 – 1957

HMAS Kiama

1942 – 1952

HMAS Kimbla

1956 – 1985

HMAS King bay

1940 – 1946

HMAS Kookaburra

1939 – 1958

HMAS Koopa

1942 – 1947

MSA Koraaga

1989 – 200

HMAS Kuru

1941 – 1943

HMAS Kuttabul

1940 – 1942

HMAS Labuan I

1946 – 1955

HMAS Labuan II

1973 – 2014

HMAS Lachlan

1945 – 1949

HMAS Ladava

1968 – 1975

HMAS Lae I

1946 - 1955

HMAS Lae II

1968 – 1975

HMAS Latrobe

1942 – 1956

HMAS Launceston I

1942 – 1946

HMAS Launceston II

 1982 – 2006

HMAS Leeuwin

2000 – Present

HMAS Lismore

1941 – 1956

HMAS Lithgow

1941 – 1956

HMAS LST 3008

1946 – 1950

HMAS LST 3014

1946 – 1950

HMAS LST 3022

1946 – 1950

HMAS Macquarie

1945 – 1962

HMAS Madang

1968 – 1975

HMAS Manoora I

1939 – 1947

HMAS Manoora II

1994 – 2011

HMAS Maroubra

1942 – 1943

HMAS Maryborough I

1941 - 1947

HMAS Matafele

1943 – 1944

HMAS Mavie

1941 – 1942

HMAS Medea

1942 – 1945

HMAS Melbourne II

1955 – 1982

HMAS Melbourne III

1992 – Present

HMAS Melville

2000 – Present

HMAS Mercedes

1942 – 1945

Merkur

1942 – 1949

HMAS Mermaid

1989 – Present

HMAS Mildura

1941 – 1956

HMAS ML 827

1943 - 1944

HMAS Mombah

1940 - 1948

HMAS Moresby II

1964 – 1997

HMAS Murchison

1945 – 1962

HMAS Nambucca

1940 – 1943

HMAS Napier

1940 – 1945

HMAS Nepal

1942 – 1945

HMAS Nestor

1941 – 1942

HMAS Newcastle 

1994 – Present

HMAS Nizam

1941 – 1945

HMAS Norman I

1941 – 1945

HMAS Norman II

2000 – Present

HMAS Onslow

1969 – 1999

HMAS Orion

1977 – 1997

HMAS Otama

1978 – 1999

HMAS Otway II

1968 – 1994

HMAS Ovens

1969 – 1995

HMAS Oxley II

1967 – 1992

HMAS Paluma II

1941 – 1945

HMAS Paluma III

1946 – 1973

HMAS Paluma IV

1989 – Present

HMAS Parkes

1944 – 1957

HMAS Parramatta II

1940 – 1941

HMAS Parramatta III

1961 – 1991

HMAS Patricia Cam

1942 – 1943

HMAS Perth II

1965 – 1999

HMAS Ping Wo

1942 – 1946

HMAS Pirie

1942 – 1946

HMAS Polaris

1942 – 1945

HMAS Porpoise

1973 – 1989

HMAS Poyang

1942 – 1946

HMAS Protector II

1990 – 1998

HMAS Rankin

2003 – Present

ASRV Remora

1995 – 2006

HMAS Reserve

1943 – 1961

HMAS Rockhampton

1942 – 1961

Rona

1943 – 1946

HMAS Rushcutter

1986 – 2001

HMAS Salamaua

1973 – 1974

HMAS Samarai

1968 – 1975

HMAS Samuel Benbow

1940 – 1946

HMAS Seal

1968 – 1988

HMAS Sheean

2000 – Present

HMAS Shepparton I

1943 – 1958

HMAS Shepparton II

1990 – Present

HMAS Shoalhaven

1945  - 1962

HMAS Shoalwater

1987 – 2001

HMAS Shropshire

1943 – 1949

HMAS Sleuth

1940 - 1945

HMAS Snipe

1962 – 1983

HMAS Stalwart

1966 – 1989

HMAS Stawell

1943- 1952

HMAS Steady Hour

1941 – 1945

HMAS Stella

1942- 1945

HMAS Strahan

1944 – 1961

HMAS Stuart I

1933 – 1946

HMAS Stuart II

1963 – 1991

HMAS Stuart III

2002 – Present

HMAS St Giles

1940 – 1946

HMAS Success

1986 – Present

HMAS Supply

1962 – 1985

HMAS Swan II

1937 - 1964

HMAS Swan III

1970 – 1996

HMAS Sydney III

1948 – 1973

HMAS Sydney IV

1983 – 2015

TRV Tailor

1971 – 1988

DT Tammar

1984 – 1998

HMAS Tamworth

1942 – 1946

HMAS Tarakan I

1946 – 1954

HMAS Tarakan II

1973 – 2014

HMAS Teal

1962 – 1979

HMAS Terka

1940 – 1945

Telopea crane stores lighter

1972 – 1997

HMAS Terka

1940 – 1945

HMAS Tobruk I

1950 - 1972

HMAS Tobruk II

1981 – 2015

HMAS Toowoomba I

1941 – 1946

HMAS Torrens II

1971 – 1998

HMAS Townsville I

1941 – 1956

HMAS Townsville II

1981 – 2007

TRV Trevally

1970 – 1988

TRV Tuna

1970 – 1988

HMAS Uralba

1942 – 1945

HMAS Vampire I

1933 – 1942

HMAS Vampire II

1959 – 1985

HMAS Vendetta I

1933 – 1945

HMAS Vendetta II

1958 – 1979

HMAS Vengeance

1952 – 1955

HMAS Vigilant

1940 – 1945

HMAS Voyager I

1933 – 1942

HMAS Voyager II

1957 – 1964

HMAS Wagga

1942 – 1962

Wallaby

1983 – 1997

HMAS Wallaroo

1942 – 1943

MSA Wallaroo

1991 - 2010

HMAS Waree

1942 – 1946

HMAS Waller

2001 – Present

HMAS Warramunga I

1942 – 1963

HMAS Warramunga

2001 – Present

HMAS Warrego II

1940 – 1963

Warrigal

1984 – 1997

HMAS Warrnambool

1941 – 1947

HMAS Warrnambool

1981 – 2005

HMAS Wato

1941 – 1945

Wattle

1972 – 1997

HMAS Waterhen

1933 – 1941

HMAS Westralia I

1939 – 1949

HMAS Westralia II

1989 – 2006

HMAS Wewak

1973 – 2012

HMAS Whang Pu

1944 – 1946

HMAS Whyalla I

1942 – 1947

HMAS Whyalla II

1982 – 2005

HMAS Wollongong I

1941 – 1946

HMAS Wollongong II

1981 – 2005

Wombat

1983 – 1997

HMAS Wongala

1939 – 1944

HMAS Woomera

1946 – 1960

HMAS Wyatt Earp

1947 – 1951

Wyulda

1984 – 1997

HMAS Yandra

1940 – 1946

HMAS Yarra II

1961 – 1985

HMAS Yarra III

1961 – 1985

HMAS Yarra IV

 2003 – Present

STS Young Endeavour

1988  -  Present

HMAS Yunnam

1944- 1946