CANBERRA: New allegations of misconduct have hit the Australian Navy's HMAS Success, the troubled supply ship that is already under investigation for claims of bullying and a predatory sexual culture.

Defence Force Chief Air Marshal Angus Houston yesterday confirmed that an inquiry would be held into claims of "inappropriate behaviour" by sailors on shore leave in Singapore.

The 18,000-tonne vessel, which supplies other warships with fuel, ammunition, food and other stores at sea, is in Southeast Asia for five-power exercises with the New Zealand, British, Malaysian and Singaporean Navies.

Houston said a small number of incidents had been reported to the ship's commanding officer last week, and were being investigated by the Australian Defence Force's Investigative Service.

The Herald Sun said yesterday the incidents included claims a female sailor had publicly "groped" male colleagues after getting drunk ashore.

Houston said no further comment would be made until the investigation was completed.

Acting Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas said Navy policy supported the immediate reporting of such incidents, and the latest allegations had been brought to the commanding officer's attention.

"It's important to stress that these allegations are yet to be proven."

Sailors from the Success, some of whom have since left the Navy, are already being investigated by an independent inquiry led by retired Federal Court judge Roger Giles, QC, launched in February after a finding of bias in an earlier investigation.

The Navy has since rejected widespread claims that senior sailors aboard the Success had run a "sex ledger" in which points were awarded for the successful seduction of female colleagues, with bonus points for sleeping with officers or sex in public places.

But evidence presented so far has painted a disturbing picture of what has been described as a "predatory culture" that included threats, bullying, and abuse of alcohol and steroids.

Allegations included an incident in which it's claimed two junior sailors had sex on a pool table cheered on by colleagues, one of whom used a megaphone to encourage others to watch.