COMMERCIAL MARINE 399
ASC's new shipyard open
The new shipyard will become ASC’s construction and consolidation site for the $8 billion Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Program. Part of Techport Australia, the 14-hectare shipyard is adjacent to ASC’s submarine maintenance facilities and the South Australian Government’s Common User Facility (CUF).
“Today marks a defining moment in the history of ASC as we continue to forge a path at the frontline of Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry,” chairman Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie AO RANR said.
“This state-of-the-art facility means we are now in a position to confidently ramp up the build phase of the AWDs, which is one of the most complex engineering projects ever undertaken in this country,” he said.
ASC’s shipyard includes dedicated AWD production facilities, new office accommodation for 400 employees, a wharf support-building with office space and workshops, and a significant upgrade to existing facilities.
“We have already achieved many planning and design milestones for the AWD Program and the shipyard opening is the next step in a new era for ASC,” Ritchie said.
“ASC’s managing director and chief executive officer, Mr Steve Ludlam, has also just come onboard, so it’s an exciting time right now for the company.
“The shipyard incorporates the latest production design features currently utilised in international naval-build programs and provides the best environment for our staff to work safely and efficiently,” he said.
The shipyard is ASC’s biggest infrastructure program since the 1987 establishment of the Collins Class submarine facility at Osborne.
More than 700 people attended the opening, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and SA Premier Mike Rann.
Australian Commercial Marine sold
The business and property leases of WA-based Australian Commercial Marine have been acquired by FenderCare Marine Solutions - a subsidiary of UK company James Fisher and Sons.
Formerly a family-owned company, ACM is a leading provider of marine equipment to the commercial shipping, port and offshore industries in Western Australia. Products supplied include fenders, anchors, navigation buoys, mooring equipment, ropes and other marine related products.
FenderCare intends to overlay and expand ACM's activities in Australia with its own product range and services, which it has already successfully introduced in Singapore and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region.
The business of ACM was purchased for £1.7 million as a business transfer of assets and stock. Long-term leases on the waterfront offices, warehousing and yard space used by ACM and rented to third parties were purchased for an additional £1.3 million.
Last financial year ACM reported turnover of £2.8 million, net profit before tax of £128,000 and had fixed assets and stock of £1.0 million. After adjusting for items that will not recur post acquisition, including remuneration to the owners, ACM generated EBITDA of £314,000 in the same period.
Tim Harris, chairman of James Fisher and Sons said: "This acquisition is a continuation of FenderCare's successful geographic expansion in the Asia Pacific region. We expect FenderCare's experience in the ports, shipping and offshore sectors to be particularly beneficial in the fast growing Western Australian market."
Transformational Austal LCS joins US Navy fleet
Its looks have been likened to something from Star Trek, but the revolutionary aspects of the recently commissioned USS Independence go beyond its aluminium construction, trimaran hullform, angular superstructure, wide beam and high bridge.
Of course, US Navy commissioning ceremonies have typically had very little, if any, connection to Australian industry. That all changed on January 16 when the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Independence joined the world’s most powerful navy. The fast, futuristic new surface combatant was designed and built by Australian-owned shipbuilder Austal. It represents transformations in both the nature and transfer of defence technology, with Austal’s innovation enabling it to export a naval ship design in contrast to Australia’s longstanding tradition of importing overseas designs.
Optimised for missions in near-shore environments but capable of open-ocean operation, the LCS is fast, agile and supports a range of interchangeable and modular “mission packages”. This means it can be quickly reconfigured to meet the operational requirements as they evolve.
Its ability to simultaneously support multiple packages provides flexibility, meaning a single LCS can replace numerous specialised platforms that exist in traditional navy fleet structures. This new way of thinking is not restricted to the US — Australia’s recent Defence White Paper foreshadows similar concepts for the Royal Australian Navy’s future Offshore Combatant Vessels.
The LCS’s principal role is to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft thus paving the way for other naval, amphibious and ground forces to approach coastal areas. This focus also reflects a transformation in doctrine away from the ‘bluewater’ naval focus of the Cold War period to countering more localised skirmishes, including potential terrorist threats and piracy, in coastal waters.
Not surprisingly US Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead, described the LCS as “revolutionary” and “truly unique in the world” before outlining its role and capabilities at the commissioning ceremony.
“What this ship class will do, because of its modular capabilities, its speed, its shallow draft and most of all, the size of this class — the many ships that will make it up — make this ship unlike any other,” Roughead said.
“LCS will have the capability, either alone, with other elements of our Fleet and with our international partners, to secure the littoral regions upon which communities rely on for food, transportation and for their wellbeing, to protect critical chokepoints in the global supply chain, to launch unmanned air, underwater and surface vehicles that will keep our trade at sea and our men and women ashore safe from harm, and it will even be able to access and deliver humanitarian assistance and provide disaster response to those in need,” he said.
“LCS is the future of our surface Navy,” said Vice Admiral D.C. Curtis, Commander of Naval Surface Forces. “This program will complement the strengths of larger warships. LCS will be a deterrent of green and brown water threats; the flexibility, versatility, and smart design of Independence make it well suited for joint operations.”
Austal developed the 127.1m long, 31.4m wide, 2800-tonne all-aluminium LCS platform from the similarly sized fast-ferry Benchijigua Express, which was built in Australia and has been operating successfully since 2005.
Speed is a key enabler of LCS capability and Independence has proved to be fast, including sustaining 44kts during a four-hour, full-power run in trials. Whereas many sea trials are carried out in calm conditions, much of the Independence testing was in 2.4m waves and winds over 25kts. Even in these conditions the ship reached speeds in excess of 45kts with its Austal designed ride-control system fully active.
Propulsion is provided by four steerable Wartsila waterjets (two LJ160E and two LJ150E), with a dropdown azimuthing thruster forward enhancing slow-speed manoeuvring and providing a method of auxiliary propulsion and steering should all four shaftlines be taken out of commission. Approximately 83,400hp of propulsive power comes from two GE LM2500 gas turbines and two MTU 20V 8000 M71 diesels.
While that’s a huge amount of power, it compares favourably with the 113,500hp installed on the competing but smaller steel and aluminium monohull LCS design. Independence also has five MTU 8V 396 auxiliaries. All engines are manufactured, assembled and tested per the requirements of the latest ABS Naval Vessel Rules.
In addition to speed Austal reports that the ship “demonstrated excellent agility and stability characteristics” in the less than ideal trial conditions, including during a series of high-speed turns, and ahead-and-astern manoeuvres in which “the ship’s flight deck remained stable”.
Jeff Geiger, president of prime contractor General Dynamics Bath Iron Works said the ship “exceeded our expectations in terms of manoeuvrability, stability, handling and speed.”
According to Austal, the ship also offers a range of 4300nm at 18kts, three weapon zones, capacity for any two mission packages simultaneously, and a 1030m² flight deck. Aircraft carriers aside, this deck is larger than that of any USN surface combatant and enables aviation operations in sea state 5, supports simultaneous operation of two embarked SH-60 helicopters and multiple UAVs, and can recover, service, and launch the larger H-53 aircraft. The hanger can be used for stowing and maintaining two SH-60s.
Beneath the flight deck is the ship’s Mission Bay. This provides more than 2000m² for loading up to 210 tonnes of mission modules. Equipment can be moved between the Bay and the hanger using an internal elevator. A twin-boom extending crane provides the means for launching and retrieving boats, unmanned vehicles and other items into the water.
The Mission Bay can also accommodate a large volume of vehicles, cargo or other supplies as may be desirable for humanitarian missions. The starboardside roll-on/roll-off ramp is capable of handling ground vehicles, including Stryker and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles, and also supports rapid mission package change-out.
The ship’s open architecture computing infrastructure also proved its effectiveness during trials. The OPEN CI technology integrates the ship’s combat, damage control, engineering control, mission package and other onboard computing functions. It allows plug-and-play integration of both the core systems and the LCS mission modules. During trials the Core Mission System successfully detected, engaged and eliminated a simulated cruise-missile attack at long range.
The USN’s LCS program manager, Rear Admiral James Murdoch confirmed his pleasure with the acceptance trials. “Independence performed extremely well during trials,” he said, adding that the ship had “conducted two outstanding days at sea.”
The LCS is also revolutionary in its use of modularity and open-architecture to ensure it is able to adapt to the ever-changing threat environment.
The ship is permanently fitted with a 57mm main gun, four .50 calibre guns, two Super Rapid Bloom Offboard Countermeasures (SRBOC) decoy launching systems and a Raytheon SeaRAM anti-ship missile defence weapon system with an 11-round surface-to-air missile launcher. In USN terms this is relatively light armament leading USN Captain Michael Good, program manager, LCS Mission Modules, to explain that: “LCS has some core capabilities, but it is largely self-defensive. The embarkable mission package augments the sea-frame and gives LCS offensive capabilities in three focused mission areas: mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.”
An example of a mission package is the combination of the MH-60S helicopter and mine countermeasure (MCM) equipment. “We're more versatile,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Schmitt, a MH-60S pilot. “It is part of the master plan to incorporate more capabilities into fewer platforms.”
Mineman 1st Class Ricardo Contreras, who served on a MCM ship and is now as part of the LCS MCM detachment is impressed. “Since the mission module allows us to be on an LCS, we can go where we need to go a lot quicker and the unmanned vehicles allow us to reduce the risk necessary to accomplish the mission,” he said.
Describing the ship as a “technological leap in naval warfare”, Austal managing director, Bob Browning said it “delivers significant advantages, not only in terms of increased capability, but also through vastly reduced operating costs over the life of the vessel.” Chief among the financial benefits are the expected fuel savings resulting from the lower installed power compared to the steel hulled alternative.
The LCS program is also changing the way the USN crews its ships, with much smaller, multi-skilled crews benefiting from a range of onboard labour-saving systems. Independence is manned by two rotational crews, Blue and Gold, of 40 Sailors each. These crews are further augmented by detachment specialists for each mission module. The ship has permanent berths for 76 personnel in a mix of single, double and quad-berth cabins. The seakeeping of the trimaran is expected to result in less wear and tear on crew members, allowing them to perform their tasks more efficiently with less fatigue from ship motion.
Both commanding officers are enthusiastic about their new charge. “The ship is large enough and flexible enough to hold just about anything you could think of in terms of coastal and littoral warfare,” said Commander Michael Riley, commanding officer, Gold Crew. “If you build modules, we could carry them. That’s one of the truly unique things about Independence. I think we are going to expand way beyond the initial three-mission sets the ship was designed to do, and of course, do those extremely well.”
Describing Independence as a “great ship”, Riley’s Blue Crew counterpart, Commander Curt Renshaw said: “It’s going to change the way we do things, particularly in the surface force. This ship allows us the flexibility to complement almost all the pillars of the Maritime Strategy.”
Bob Browning noted that: “For a shipbuilder that started in business in Australia just 21 years ago to successfully hand over such a revolutionary platform to the most powerful navy in the world is both a momentous achievement and an honour. This is definitely one of Austal’s proudest moments.”
The first ship is, however, just the beginning. Austal is currently constructing its second LCS which, along with two of the rival designs, makes four ordered to date. Later this year the USN intends to settle on one design and award a contract for up to 10 LCS. The USN LCS fleet is projected to reach 55 ships by 2035 and there is international interest. Austal’s success to date can be considered a major victory, but the war is still to be won.
Success to be converted
The Department of Defence has released a Request for Tender for modification of the Royal Australian Navy tanker HMAS Success to achieve compliance with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) requirements for double-hulled tankers.
The conversion involves the installation of a second hull internal to the ship, which will reduce the risk of cargo spillage in the event of a serious incident. It is intended that potential contractors selected in an Invitation to Register Interest, conducted in early 2009, would respond and contribute to this project.
Defence said the complex modifications will be undertaken to ensure the operational flexibility of the ship will not be impeded and world’s best practice for the protection of the marine environment is achieved.
HMAS Success is forecast to re-enter service with the Royal Australian Navy in 2011. HMAS Sirius was commissioned in 2006 as the Navy’s first double-hulled tanker.
Potential contractors for this conversion include both Australian and overseas shipyards, and in some cases Australian and overseas companies are planning to enter into a partnership.
Our $48 billion industry
Australia’s marine industries are worth more to the nation than agriculture, according to recent analysis launched by the Chairman of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) Council, Dr Ian Gould.
The AIMS Index of Marine Industry valued Australia’s marine industries for 2007-08 at $48.4 billion compared to $43.3 billion for the agricultural sector in the same period.
Dr Gould said: "The analysis shows Australia’s marine industries make a major contribution to the economy. However, this contribution is often unrecognised and undervalued — the aim of the marine index is to redress that.
"The first marine index was launched last year, and already the data shows a dramatic jump in the value of marine industries, up from $38 billion in 2006-07 to $48.4 billion in 2007-08," he said.
Australia’s marine industries include oil and gas exploration and extraction, tourism, fishing, boatbuilding, shipping, ports and numerous others.
A breakdown of the worth of various parts of the industry includes:
* Domestic tourism - $15,970 million
* Oil production - $12,123 million
* Oil exploration - $2541 million
* Commercial fishing (wild capture) - $1363 million
* Marine-based aquaculture - $782 million
Tug quartet available
Four tugs owned and operated by RiverWijs and currently working for Woodside Energy are set to become available during the second half of the year.
Riverside Marine is currently seeking expressions of interest for the charter or sale of the tugs, which are all approximately 34m in length and capable of producing 50 tonnes bollard.
RiverWijs Gillian and RiverWijs Claudine were both built in Fremantle during 1984 by Australian Shipbuilding Industries and are in Lloyd’s Register class. Twin Niigata SEMT Pielstick diesels deliver a combined 4200hp to a pair of Niigata azimuthing drives, giving 52.6 tonnes pull and a maximum speed of 12kts.
Hagglunds deck equipment prevails with the combined towing/anchor winch and aft towing winch both capable of 80 tonnes static line pull. The former holds 100m of 96mm rope while the later handles 700m of 42mm wire.
The tugs have tankage for 14,000lt of firefighting foam, which is dispersed using a remotely operated Skum monitor rated to 600m³/h backed up by another manual monitor.
The other pair of sisters that will become available are the RiverWijs Edwina and RiverWijs Olivia, built at the same shipyard five years later. Slightly smaller in their principal dimensions, they have nearly 14 per cent more power available from a pair of Deutz diesels. As with the older tugs they use azimuthing drives, though in this case they are Aquamaster units. The net result is 50.2 tonnes pull and a free running speed of 13.7kts.
These tugs have Brattvaag deck gear including a single drum towing/anchor winch with a 15-tonne dynamic rating and a storage reel holding 150m of 96mm rope. The towing hook on the aft deck has a 65-tonne safe working load. Firefighting capabilities and equipment are similar to RiverWijs Gillian and RiverWijs Claudine.
All tugs have two single-berth cabins and six twin cabins.
Bhagwan confirms Crewsafe rollout
WA operator Bhagwan Marine has confirmed it will roll-out Mobilarm Crewsafe across its fleet of support vessels following successful installations near the end of last year.
The initial installations of the wireless crew-monitoring system, which is designed to reduce the risk of injury or death through man overboard, were on three vessels including Bhagwan’s newest catamaran, Lauri J. That vessel has the premium version of Crewsafe, which includes complete crew management systems, and is configured for 18 Crewsafe tags supporting six crew and up to 10 clients. The catamaran is working on contract to Chevron from Onslow.
Bhagwan Marine's managing director, Loui Kannikoski, said: "I've worked in the commercial Marine industry since 1974 and have experienced firsthand that prevention is the key to ensuring your crew are safe.
"Following the successful trials I can see Crewsafe will offer all our crew an extra level of safety which will help to save lives," he said.
Samson Explorer which had a pre-installation survey completed, was set to be the next boat in Bhagwan Marine's 30-vessel fleet to install and commission Crewsafe. The company has also selected the Mobilarm V100 Digital PLB for use across the organisation to increase safety in crew transfer and operations on the vessels.
UES wins US Navy seating contract
The seating division of Australian company UES International has won a substantial contract for a range of newly designed standard seats for the US Government’s Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program.
USE says the seats have several very special requirements, as the embarked troops could be seated for up to 12 hours.
“This required new groundbreaking ideas in design and manufacturing for a product that can proudly take its place in any first-class transport application,” explained UES’s Paul Jessep.
The vessels are being built by Austal USA in Alabama, which required some long-distance communications on design issues.
“Well-focused design meetings and rapid turnaround in engineering modifications were quickly communicated halfway across the world in clear and precise 3D CAD drawings,” Jessup said.
“UES Seating Division were very competitive in every criteria; innovation of design, light weight, price and strength, having again passed and exceeded the most punishing of IMO crash tests,” he said.
Global harbour masters meet in Perth
Global Port and Marine Operations, the 7th International Harbour Masters Congress, is being held in Perth from April 19 to 23.
The event is being organised by Informa Australia and Capt Eric Atkinson and is the first time the International Harbour Masters Association (IMHA) has had its congress in Australia. Acknowledging this, the Western Australian Ports Association, PORTS WA, has made Alan Birchmore, the chairman of Fremantle Ports, available to be Congress chairman.
The Congress theme is ‘Sustainability: Fact or Fiction?', which IMHA president Alan Coghlan said posed the Papers Committee a challenge.
“We asked them to seek papers that will show the industry is conscious of mounting difficulties in operating a modern port today. The main difficulty we all face is the increasing awareness of our environment and the threats it faces through our, and other industries, activities.
“By choosing and discussing this theme I believe that we can show legislators and stakeholders that we are committed to facing the environmental and societal issues by seeking sustainable methods which meet international best practice,” he said.
The biennial IHMA Congress provides a unique forum in which formal IMHA meetings are combined with a conference and an exhibition — displaying equipment, services and technical developments from throughout the port and harbour sector. The first was held in Amsterdam in 1998 followed by Dubai, South Africa, Bremen, Malta and St Petersburg.
Noreq appoints AMI as Australian rep
Norwegian company Noreq has signed an Agency Agreement contract with AMI Marine International Ltd. to represent Noreq and NoreqFender in Australia.
Noreq Group said the appointment would put it in a stronger position with respect to capacity and delivery times.
“AMI Marine International has already started co-operating with Noreq, and will give Noreq's customers the best service. They will have rescue boats and fast-rescue boats in stock for quick delivery,” said sales director Trond Paulsen.
“Based on increasing demand for NOREQ-products it's a pleasure to introduce our new representative in Australia. Noreq believes that our customers in Australia will take advantage of our agreement with AMI Marine Int. Ltd,” he added.
Photos: ASC’s 14-hectare shipyard is located at Osborne, South Australia, adjacent to ASC’s submarine maintenance facilities and the South Australian Government’s Common User Facility (CUF), and is part of Techport Australia; It is the most modern shipyard in Australia — incorporating the latest production design features currently utilised in international naval build programs; Three Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers will be built at the shipyard. Each of the 6250-tonne AWDs consists of 29 blocks and eight (or 30 per cent) of these will be constructed by ASC; FenderCare Marine Solutions has acquired the business and property leases of WA’s Australian Commercial Marine; Austal LCS - The various angles are designed to reduce the ship’s radar signature; Austal LCS - Only carriers have a larger flight deck, a big benefit of the tri’s large beam; Austal LCS - Watercraft are launched through the transom door; Austal LCS - Sustained speeds of 44kts were achieved on trials; HMAS Success; Bhagwan Marine’s Samson Explorer; UES International to supply seating for US Navy Joint High Speed Vessel program; Noreq FRB 700.