Navy chief in the firing line
DEFENCE Minister Stephen Smith has rejected a call to sack the chief of navy over a ‘‘ culpability gap’’ in Australia’s naval forces. Heavy transport ship HMAS Kanimbla will be out of action until April 2012 for maintenance work, while HMAS Manoora will be decommissioned. HMAS Tobruk is now the only one available. Opposition defence spokesman David Johnstone said the minister should be seeking ‘‘ some accountability’’ with Chief of Navy Russ Crane. The government is looking for an interim plan.