Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice, Jason Clare, has welcomed the launch of Australia’s first Cape Class patrol boat. It was launched in early January during a ceremony with staff and suppliers at Austal’s shipyard in Western Australia.

The vessel is the first of eight new boats being built by Austal for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service under a design, construct and in-service support contract valued at approximately $330 million.

With the vessel in the water, Austal can complete the build and perform sea trials prior to delivery to Customs and Border Protection and an official naming ceremony, both to take place this month.

Austal chief executive officer Andrew Bellamy said the ceremony recognised the tireless efforts of its staff and suppliers in meeting a significant milestone on a strict production schedule.

“I am proud of the efforts of our Henderson team to be able to deliver on the first of these high-performance patrol boats,” said Bellamy.

“This contract has been vital in underpinning our Henderson workforce, with close to 300 staff involved in the construction of this first vessel.

“I would also like to thank our many suppliers for their important contributions. More than two-thirds of our 305 suppliers for the first Cape Class vessel are based in Western Australia and I am pleased that a number were able to attend today’s event,” he said.

Clare said the Cape Class patrol boats will be faster and bigger than the current Bay Class patrol boats — 58.1m long compared to the Bay Class’s 38.2m.

“They will also have better surveillance and communications technology and will be capable of patrolling for 28 days at a time and travelling 4000nm before refuelling,” said Clare.

Following the naming ceremony the vessel will be transferred to Customs and Border Protection, where it will be put through a five-month operational trial period.

The full fleet of eight boats is expected to be operational in late 2015.


Sea Speed Design has revealed details of a new 20m dive catamaran design and announced that the first order has been secured — from Graham Jones at Calypso Dive.

The Cairns-based operator was heavily involved in the design-development process, and the latest order is his fifth different Sea Speed catamaran design during the last seven years.

The design and kit combination has been prepared in accordance with the NSCV Class 1C (100-passenger) criteria, with hull and engineering to Lloyds SSC standard for offshore operations which Sea Speed’s Paul Birgan says will enable it to operate in most countries.

“The design is based on Sea Speed’s Deep-Sea Cat semi-displacement hull, which is proven in large seas and features high wing clearance, deep-vee rounded chine hullforms, extra-strong structure and plating, and in this case plumb bow with nose cone,” said Birgan.

“This version also features walkaround sides, large forward and aft decks, spacious air-conditioned day cabin and below-hull berthing for six crew. Large fuel capacity matched with fuel-efficient hulls gives extended range capabilities,” he said.

Powering is via twin 499kW Detroit S60 engines with props, giving an expected speed of 25kts fully loaded and a 22 to 24kts cruise speed at 80lt/h for each engine. The vessel will be fitted out with full scuba dive gear including dive compressor.

Construction of the dive cat is underway at the Gold Coast Ships yard in Thailand.


Australia’s key wild fish species are well managed, according to the first ever national snapshot of fish stocks.

More than 80 of the country’s leading fisheries researchers from Australian, State and Territory government research agencies collaborated to produce the reports, which assessed 49 species representing more than 80 per cent of the value and 70 per cent of the volume of Australian wild-catch fisheries.

The status of key Australian fish stocks reports provides an important summary of the sustainability of fish stocks.

Of the 49 key wild-capture fish species selected, 150 stocks were assessed and 98 were classified as ‘sustainable stocks’. Only two stocks were classified as ‘overfished stocks’, and these have management plans in place for their recovery.

Incat gets Nigerian contract

Sydney-based naval architects Incat Crowther have announced a contract to design a pair of 20m monohull crewboats for a Nigerian firm. The vessels are being built at Veecraft Marine in South Africa.

Based on the proven platform of Ahuva (2011), the vessels feature a large cargo deck forward. A pair of doors from the passenger compartment allow bow loading either side of the cargo foredeck, which will be planked with hardwood for durability and feature removable handrails to facilitate flexible loads and passenger movements. Side gates will also be fitted aft and at amidships.

The main deck passenger cabin has seating for 25 passengers and a head with lavatory. Under the raised pilothouse will be bins for passengers’ luggage.

Below deck, crew accommodations include two staterooms for a crew of six, a galley, mess and a head with shower and lavatory. Two large storage lockers and engineroom access for crew use are also located below deck.

A notable requirement for the vessels is a bulletproof pilothouse. As well as fitting bulletproof glass, this requirement is met with the specification of Armox 500T steel, capable of withstanding an AK-47 cartridge fired at a distance of 10m.

The pilothouse will feature overhead windows forward to enhance visibility when approaching offshore platforms. Heavy-duty replaceable fendering is fitted all-round, and a 3000lt/h remote-control fire monitor is fitted to the pilothouse roof.

The workboats will be fitted with a pair of MAN 2842 LE410 main engines, each producing 824kW. Gearboxes will be Twin Disc MG-5204 SC units and propulsion via a pair of propellers, recessed in tunnels to meet the demanding draft requirement.

The vessels are scheduled for delivery mid year.


Mermaid Marine Australia (MMA) has announced a new, long-term vessel charter contract and the award of a supply base contract with INPEX.

MMA has been awarded a contract in excess of $50 million by BHP Billiton Petroleum for provision of offshore marine support to the company’s Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) operations off the northwest coast of Western Australia.

The vessel to be used for the support role, Mermaid Cove, is currently under construction in Singapore and will commence operations in 2013. Mermaid Supporter will act as lead-in vessel until Mermaid Cove is delivered. The contract is for an initial period of five years, with contract upside should the two additional one-year options be exercised.

Mermaid Cove is a 53m DP2 offshore support vessel (OSV) and a sister ship to the 53m Mermaid Strait (pictured) and 50m Mermaid Sound. These two sister vessels are on long-term contract with Woodside. Mermaid Cove shares design features with its sisters that enable it to work in close-quarters operations to tankers during FPSO offtake operations. It is a technically sophisticated ship and powered by a diesel-electric drive providing fuel and cost efficiency.

Mermaid Cove will be the first OSV operating off the NW Shelf that will be fitted with a 10m daughter craft as well as a 7m fast rescue craft, significantly increasing the ship’s capability as a search-and-rescue and emergency-response vessel. Mermaid Cove will also be equipped to undertake oil dispersant and recovery operations.

MMA's MD Jeff Weber said: “Mermaid Cove is a class leading, innovative vessel that further adds to MMA’s production support capability. We are very pleased to continue to support BHP Billiton’s offshore operations.”

MMA also announced the award of a contract by INPEX to MMA’s 50 per cent owned subsidiary Toll Mermaid Logistics Broome (TMLB), for the provision of services at the company’s Broome supply base.

Established in 2006, TMLB is a joint venture between MMA and Toll Holdings to provide supply base services in Broome in support of the offshore oil and gas activities in the Browse Basin region.

The contract is for an initial five-year term, with two five-year extension options.

Under the contract TMLB will develop infrastructure and provide services at its Broome supply base to support the development of drilling activities for the INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG Project.

The contract value is approximately $20 million for the firm period, with further upside should the options be exercised.

The Ichthys LNG Project is a joint venture between INPEX group companies (the operator), TOTAL group companies and other participants. Gas from the Ichthys Field, in the Browse Basin offshore WA, will undergo preliminary processing offshore to remove water and raw liquids, including condensate. The gas is then sent for onshore processing in Darwin via an 889km pipeline. The Ichthys LNG Project is expected to produce 8.4 million tonnes of LNG and 1.6 million tonnes of LPG per annum, along with about 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak.


The arrival of two new tugs to support defence operations on the east coast is a visible sign of extensive change going on within the fleet supporting defence operations around Australia.

The new 24m tugs replace MSA Bandicoot and Wallaroo, which are to be sold. They are named Elwing and Waree following a tradition that they are named after tugs that previously served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

The new tugs mark the start of transition from Bandicoot and Wallaroo to a new tug capability that will allow the Navy to provide a greater level of tug service to its own vessels as well as visiting ships. The new tug capability achieved an Initial Operational Capability (IOC) to provide support to visits by nuclear-powered warships late last year.

The new tugs were built for defence contractor DMS Maritime by Dutch-based shipbuilder Damen, which has received 11 orders from DMS in recent times.

Late last year that culminated with an order for a 93m Rescue Gear Ship, which will be used to support the Navy’s submarine fleet. Since 2011, DMS Maritime has ordered five tugs (four Azimuth tugs — a Damen ASD Tug 2310, an ASD Tug 2009 and two ASD 2411s — as well as a Stan Tug 1606) for Rockingham, Darwin and Sydney and four water-fuel lighters (due for delivery in 2013/14). Four of the five tugs have been delivered. The ASD Tug 2009 will be delivered mid-2013. As well as this, a contract for an 83m Escape Gear Ship (EGS) Submarine Rescue Vessel was signed last August.

Under the Fleet Marine Services Contract (FMSC) for the Navy, DMS Maritime operates a fleet of around 75 vessels on Navy’s behalf.

Roland Briene, Damen regional sales director–Asia Pacific, comments: “This really is a remarkable project. After working on this contract for more than three years, we are proud to say that all the vessels so far have been delivered ahead of schedule and in budget to the full satisfaction of the client.”

Previously, Damen had worked extensively with DMS Maritime’s sole shareholder, Serco, in the UK on a 29-vessel order completed in 2010.


“We took the lessons we all learnt onboard for this contract,” said Briene.

“For instance, rather than having five project managers we have one to make sure all communications are streamlined efficiently. This is also the first regular contact Damen has had with the RAN and we hope that this positive experience means that the Navy will consider Damen in the future.

“We started talks in 2007 but ultimately I think DMS Maritime chose Damen because of our ability to have all of the different types of vessels under one form of contract. We were able to get together with our product groups and give a very fast response and support to DMS throughout the entire tender process with our project engineers, research and finance people. We could show that we have proven designs and a track record for on-time delivery, in budget,” he said.

Damen is also responsible for delivering all 11 craft to Australia.

These acquisitions are part of the Contractor Asset Acquisition Program (CAAP), a major component of the FMSC. The CAAP is built on a three-way agreement between Defence, the National Australia Bank, and DMS. Its task is to acquire 18 new and 110 replacement craft for the Navy.

DMS’ CAAP team is overseeing the design, build, trials, set-to-work and delivery of a range of vessels over three years, and will procure the replacement craft over eight years. These include rigid hull inflatable (RHIB) and small inflatable boats. Already, 10 of the 18 new vessels, 16 Juliet 3 RHIBs, and eight FC530 inflatable boats have been delivered. Included are five Steber 43s, with two located in Sydney and one each in Jervis Bay, Cairns and Rockingham.

Damen’s shipyard in Changde, China, constructed a new harbour tug small (HTS), Wattle, now home ported in Sydney and the large ASD tug Tancred already in service in Rockingham. A medium ASD tug is now under construction and will join the Darwin FMSC support craft fleet in mid-2013.

Being constructed at Song Thu Shipyard in Da Nang, where Elwing and Waree were built, are three 650-tonne self-propelled water-fuel lighters for Sydney, Darwin and Rockingham, and one 1000-tonne water-fuel lighter for Sydney.

Damen will build the 83m escape gear ship and the 93m submarine rescue gear ship in Haiphong, Vietnam. The EGS is scheduled to enter service in September 2015 and the RGS in August 2016.

The EGS will be crewed by DMS, primarily to provide first-response support for submarines in distress.


To meet the needs of changing market conditions and increased commercial vessel traffic in and around the Great Barrier Reef, US-based Titan Salvage has established a new office and equipment depot in Cairns.

The company says its presence in the Pacific South-East enhances its marine salvage, wreck removal and emergency response capabilities in the region. The new depot introduces to the region a new subsidiary Titan Maritime (Australia) Pty Ltd, which has already performed successful salvage and response efforts in the area, including the drifting MV Integrity and the sunken Tycoon.

Titan Australia’s new 1860m² depot houses a variety of emergency response equipment, including generators and pumps, hydraulic power packs, dive gear, floating lines, satellite communications and proprietary Titan hydraulic chain pullers, each with a 300-tonne capacity.

In its new location, the Titan team will work closely with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and salvage partner Ian Perrott, of Perrott Salvage. Over the last two years, Perrott Salvage and Titan have combined to provide emergency response and salvage around the Great Barrier Reef and Australia.

Titan’s two successful recent salvage jobs, though varied in scope, allowed the company to showcase its strengths with equipment, specialised personnel and powerful partnerships that resulted in prompt, effective services to the customers.

The MV Integrity requested assistance en route to Townsville after engine failure caused it to drift close to Shark Reef off the Coral Sea Islands. Titan Australia dispatched emergency equipment from Cairns and two contracted tugs, Pacific Tug’s PT Kotor, which arrived first on scene and cast the original tow line, and PB Towage Australia’s PB Leichhardt. AMSA also diverted its larger rescue vessel Pacific Responder from training duties and, once on scene, engaged it in tow duties while the PT Kotor and PB Leichhardt provided assistance to anchorage.

“This incident was the first emergency response conducted from Titan’s newest base in Australia and it was considered an extremely successful operation,” said Titan’s Eric Shelley.

“The timely manner of this response, the team effort of Titan Australia, Titan partners and AMSA helped protect the Great Barrier Reef from damage and prevented environmental risk, which are of huge importance to the maritime industry and the Australian authorities,” he said.

Titan Australia also removed wreckage from the MV Tycoon, which came to rest in environmentally sensitive and remote waters off the coast of Christmas Island, some 200nm from Indonesia in the Indian Ocean. After sinking, the vessel broke apart during storms, disrupting port operations and threatening the sea life and beaches of Flying Fish Cove. Utilising a large electro-magnet, the salvage team removed more than 1600 tons of scattered debris without harm to the environment.

“This new location has already demonstrated that it is of high complement to the company’s existing footprint within the USA, UK and Singapore,” said Lindsay Malen, director of business development. “It allows Titan to offer global marine salvage capabilities by combining dedicated personnel, skills and equipment.”

Titan, a subsidiary of Crowley Maritime Corporation, is a worldwide marine salvage and wreck removal company based in Florida.


A contract for the In Service Support (ISS) of the phased array radar currently being installed on the Royal Australian Navy’s eight ANZAC Class frigates has been signed with Canberra-based CEA Technologies.

The phased array radar is the new technology and equipment that underpins the Anti Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) Project.

This AMSD upgrade will enable the Navy’s eight ANZAC Class ships to identify, track and guide missiles to multiple targets simultaneously instead of the current single-target capability.

The initial three-year ISS Contract provides through-life maintenance support for the advanced, fourth generation fully-digital-active radar developed by CEA.

It also covers developing, maintaining and enhancing skill sets and capabilities, including training onboard Navy technicians.

The ISS Contract will initially support HMAS Perth, which has already been successfully upgraded with the phased array radar.

The Government, late last year, approved the installation of the system on the remaining seven ships of the ANZAC class by 2017.


Marine Rescue NSW faced the choice of replacing, or refitting, when it reviewed the ailing performance of the 22-year-old Colin Woods from Jervis Bay. After a comprehensive five-month refurbishment and repowering program at Steber International, the Steber 41 is back in service at its home port of HMAS Creswell.

Launched in May 1990, the boat was commissioned by the Australian Federal Police and was stationed at Jervis Bay. When new it was fitted with a pair of four-stroke, eight-cylinder 425hp diesels. Top speed then was around 26kts at 2800rpm.

Sometime later the vessel was sold to the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol, which subsequently became Marine Rescue NSW. After serving well, Colin Woods was showing signs of getting tired. An extensive assessment last year revealed the hull and superstructure to be in excellent condition, however a lot of work was required to bring the boat up to modern-day standards. The original engines were tired, as were the transmissions, genset, electronics, fuel tanks and a host of other systems.

Steber boss Alan Steber accepted the commission to undertake a major refit, in the process saving Marine Rescue NSW almost $250,000, when compared to the commissioning of a new rescue vessel.

“To help keep the cost down, we arranged for the Colin Woods to be motored under her own power from Jervis Bay back to the Steber factory at Taree,” said Steber.

“When the boat arrived we began to strip it right back. The antifoul was removed all the way back to the original gelcoat and the engineroom stripped bare. Our task was to refit the entire boat and bring it up to the similar standard as the new Steber 38 vessels that we have been supplying to Marine Rescue NSW,” he said.

At the heart of the refit were a pair of new Yanmar 6LY3-STP engines, new ZF transmissions, new exhaust system, new wiring, new fuel tank and a new Yanmar-powered Mase Mariner genset.

“Yanmar is the engine of choice with the new-model Steber 38s that we have been supplying Marine Rescue NSW and numerous other professional operators along the coast,” says Steber. “The same units already supplied to NSW Marine Rescue have been performing exceptionally well so everyone was very happy to see the Yanmar’s selected again and installed into the Colin Woods. That was despite the hull being almost a metre longer and overall displacement significantly higher.”

With the refit complete, Colin Woods was ready for sea trials and commissioning. Ian Mills — Power Equipment’s marine sales engineer for NSW — was in attendance, and together with the Steber engineers, oversaw a full test and commission of all systems over two days.

With an overall weight reduction, thanks to the new technology Yanmars and an increase of 4in in pitch with the new props, Colin Woods’ performance and reduced noise levels impressed all aboard.

While the rated power of the new Yanmars is virtually the same as the old non-Yanmar engines, the refurbished boat is almost 4kts faster at wide open throttle. Now the Yanmars deliver a top speed of 30kts at 3360rpm. A comfortable cruise speed of 18kts is achieved at 2390rpm with fuel consumption recording 37.5lt/h.

“In a tough market, where both recreational boaters and commercial operators are weighing up the costs of replacing versus refurbishment, we are finding that our ability to offer a factory refit with quality engineering practises has become increasingly attractive,” said Steber.

“In the case of the Colin Woods, we replaced a huge amount of the hardware onboard, while at the same time applying a generous amount of external and interior cosmetic work. The outcome is a 22-year-old boat that looks and performs like a brand-new vessel,” he said.

Originally published in Trade-A-Boat #437, March 2013.