For at least the third time in as many years, someone carrying real or fake explosives in a security training exercise has lost track of their cargo. Yesterday, that resulted in a full-scale security lockdown at Sydney's Circular Quay, the city's ground zero for tourism thanks to views of the city's iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
The iconic location and busy public transport hub was closed for a couple of hours during yesterday afternoon, disrupting ferries, trains, buses and taxis, after someone spotted a “suspicious object” on a ferry.
The objects are described as “bottles with protruding wires and filled with liquid” by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation report.
Rather than set the city at rest by calling the police and saying “oops, that's our fake bomb”, whichever agency / individual created the package kept mum and let the lockdown run on for hours.
It was only after dozens of police were shipped in (including the bomb squad), along with some small Navy vessels, fire brigade hazmat teams and others, that it was determined that the “suspicious objects” were “training equipment … meant to be used in a security exercise”.
Throughout yesterday, nobody 'fessed up to being responsible for the kerfuffle. Now, ABC Radio is saying that the training bomb belonged to the ferry company itself.
In other words, whoever was responsible for the device decided it was better to keep his or her head down, than to say "oops, that's our bomb".
"Training devices" have a very spotty history in Australia, whoever they belong to. In September 2014, someone from the Australian Federal Police left an explosive-filled suitcase at Sydney Airport after a training exercise; and in 2012, someone from the Defence Police Training Centre left home-made “bombs” in the glove-box when they returned a rented Hertz car after an exercise.
Vulture South can't help but think that Australia's security services are in dire need of a little bit of Internet of Things / MTM bomb-tracking goodness so they can avoid such snafus in future. ®