- Brown, Andrew, Commander, RNZN
- History - Between the wars
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 2008 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
The world has changed a great deal since 1951, perhaps more, from a geopolitical perspective, in the Pacific and Indian Oceans than anywhere else on the globe. The UK is no longer a major naval power in the region (although does retain a strategic interest in the area); sovereign nations have replaced former colonies, and both China and India are emerging as major economic powers. The Radford-Collins Agreement, however, has evolved over time and still exists – coordinating areas of responsibility and administrative functions for the protection of maritime trade. The concept of Naval Control of Shipping (NCS), which relied on positive naval control of merchant ships, has now given way to Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS), which relies more on cooperation with the merchant marine and is based on advice rather than control. (Importantly, NCAGS is not limited to the Radford-Collins Agreement, and is conducted by navies in the region and around the world.) The underlying essence of the current agreement, however, has not changed. It still speaks of responsibility, common procedures, cooperation and communication built on the foundation of the parties to the agreement facing a common threat.
It is interesting to explore how an inter-navy agreement, born of the Cold War but also in response to another similar agreement (ANZAM), could have both survived and remain relevant. It says much of both the quality of the original agreement and the need for it – a need that remains as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.