Commercial Marine 439


Strategic Marine, the Western Australian-based shipbuilder that also has operations in Singapore and Vietnam, has announced it will build the Long Term Ashmore Capability (LTAC) for Gardline Australia, which will supply it to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

The order, which has not been formally announced by the Federal Government, was awarded after a successful tender prepared under a teaming arrangement between Gardline Australia, the owner and operator of the current Ashmore Guardian; Strategic Marine, the builder of the new vessel; and Fremantle-based McAlpine Marine Design (MMD), the designer. The contract notice published in late February puts the contract value at $16.75 million.

The LTAC will be a 40m on-station vessel designed for reliable, flexible self-sufficiency on long-term deployment in tropical areas. Once delivered, it will be deployed to Ashmore Island, an external territory of Australia lying 500nm from Darwin in the Indian Ocean.

The vessel’s steel hull and aluminium superstructure design stems from Gardline’s previous experience with its Ashmore Guardian, the vessel currently operating in the same location and which the LTAC is intended to relieve and replace in mid-2014. MMD was also involved with Ashmore Guardian, having been engaged by Gardline to carry out the design and stability work for the conversion refit of what had previously been the Kailis fisheries support vessel Roper K.

Among the LTAC’s technical specifications are twin main Caterpillar C32 engines and a bowthruster, twin davits and tenders, a draft of 2.4m and beam of 11.5m. There is accommodation for 17 crew and 26 passengers. It will be built at Strategic’s shipyard in Vietnam.

Ron Anderson, Strategic Marine’s executive director said: “We are delighted our long experience in the construction of transport and patrol boats for many governments gave Gardline the confidence to select us to build for them under their contact with the Australian authorities.”


The first of two new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships for the Royal Australian Navy has been officially named Canberra in a traditional ceremony at the BAE Systems shipyard in Williamstown, Victoria.

The ship was named by Mrs Vickie Coates, wife of the late Rear Admiral Nigel Coates AM, RAN. It is the third Australian Navy ship to bear the name Canberra. The first was a County Class heavy cruiser which served with distinction until she was heavily damaged and sunk during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942. The second was a guided missile frigate that participated in numerous operations, the most recent being Operation Slipper as part of the international coalition against terrorism. It was decommissioned in 2009.

The Canberra class LHDs are bigger than Australia’s last aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and will be more than 230m long, 27.5m high and displace around 27,500 tonnes.

The hull of the new Canberra Class LHDs was designed and built by Spanish company Navantia. BAE Systems is completing the build with the superstructure, combat and communications systems currently being consolidated.

Canberra is due to be accepted into service in the first quarter of 2014. The second LHD is due to be accepted into service in 2016.


Dutch company Royal Boskalis Westminster has been awarded the contract for maintenance dredging in Melbourne.

The contract was awarded by the Port of Melbourne Corporation and is for a period of four years through to March 2017 with two options for extension, each of three years. The dredging activities relate to the maintenance of the port basin and sections of the 32nm access channel.

Boskalis will deploy a medium-sized trailing suction hopper dredger and a backhoe for the dredging and capping of the sediment.


Teekay Shipping Australia (TSA) has boosted towage operations in Port Hedland, WA, chartering three more 80-plus-tonne bollard pull RotorTugs on behalf of BHPB Billiton Minerals.

The RT Rotation, RT Sensation and RT Inspiration, supplied under a bareboat charter with the Elisabeth Group as owners of the tugs under services of KOTUG International B.V., will join three powerful RotorTugs already operating in the port.

The 6500hp RT Rotation, RT Sensation and RT Inspiration are new-builds from the ASL Shipyard in Singapore and are equipped with three Z-drive propulsion units to give them unique manoeuvring characteristics and 84 tonnes bollard pull.

Teekay Shipping currently provides crewing and technical management services to BHPB, which now has a fleet of 14 tugs in what the mining sector regards as Australia’s busiest port.

Managing director of TSA, David Parmeter said the charter was a great vote of confidence in Teekay’s operations.

“It demonstrates our ability to work with BHPB Minerals to ensure the port’s towage operations safely and effectively meet current and projected demand,” said Parmeter.


The Port Hedland Port Authority is forecasting an increase in throughput from 247 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) in 2012, to nearly 500 mtpa by 2017.

Teekay and KOTUG’s close working relationship, particularly in Port Hedland, has been further solidified by the establishment of joint venture company KT Maritime Services Australia, created in July 2012.

Parmeter said the partnership was “an opportunity to combine the mutually beneficial strengths within Teekay and KOTUG”.

“On one hand Teekay is a proven Australian operator of tankers, bulk carriers, FPSOs, FSOs, tugs and a diverse range of specialised vessels for both commercial and government applications,” he explained. “Conversely, KOTUG is a world leader in the tug boat industry. It is widely regarded by the international maritime community as a world-class, highly innovative marine towage service provider.”


Aluminium Marine has commenced construction of a 26m catamaran passenger ferry at its facility in Brisbane. The vessel has been commissioned by Southern Discoveries of New Zealand’s South Island, and will operate out of Queenstown, transferring passengers to isolated destinations on Lake Wakatipu.

Southern Discoveries said the multi-million-dollar catamaran will be known as Spirit of Queenstown and will launch for the start of the 2013/14 summer season.

It will carry up to 150 passengers from Queenstown across Lake Wakatipu to the normally inaccessible Mt Nicholas Station for an authentic and nature-based experience. Southern Discoveries will be the only company offering trips to Mt Nicholas Station, which will undergo some developments in order to host the trip.

Southern Discoveries general manager John Robson said the decision to invest in the single-level catamaran was a significant one that reflected the entrepreneurial and forward-thinking visions of the Queenstown-based Skeggs Group, owners of the company.

“Over the last four years Southern Discoveries has gone from strength-to-strength thanks to continued investment in its current products as well as new opportunities,” said Robson. “The latest investment is one we have been discussing and planning for more than a year, so it’s hugely exciting to be able to finally announce that we’re going ahead.”

After a review of many design options, Incat Crowther was awarded the design contract on the basis of its ability to work within the tight parameters of the NZ Government environmental consent, while contributing innovative thinking to the project. Central to the award was the development of a versatile and capable vessel, with a focus on low capital cost.

The design firm says the ferry's aesthetic was developed to integrate into the environment without compromising the vessel functionality or performance.

The ferry has 170 seats, 127 inside the main deck passenger cabin. A large bar and kiosk will provide concession service aft. The outboard seats are arranged in booths with tables. Large double doors access the cabin from the aft boarding gates. The aft main deck features overhead hangers for bicycles and three toilets. On the upper deck are the wheelhouse and 43 exterior seats.

Propulsion is from a pair of Yanmar 6HYM-WET main engines, rated at 478kW, via fixed-pitch propellers. The ferry will have a top speed in excess of 25kts.


The hugely successful art gallery Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and ferry operators Navigators have taken delivery of their new catamaran ferry MR-1 (MONA ROMA 1).

Built by Incat Tasmania as yard number 073, and designed by Chamberlin Marine, MR-1 will transit the route along the Derwent River, between Brooke St Pier in downtown Hobart and the MONA site in Berriedale.

At 33.7m overall, with unusual lines and a number of very distinctive features, even the full camouflage-style paint job won’t allow her to go unnoticed. Internally, MR-1 features three separate bars (including one dedicated to VIPs), extra-height ceilings, expansive windows designed to frame the beautiful scenery of the Derwent River and a number of art installations.

MR-1 is constructed in aluminium and runs two resiliently-mounted Caterpillar C32 ACERT engines, each producing 1300hp and spinning a Mikado five-bladed propeller via an island mounted Twin Disc MGX 6620 SC gearbox. The ferry holds 7600lt of diesel, 1900lt of freshwater and 1900lt of sullage and will carry 240 passengers in style at a service speed of 24.9kts. It is surveyed to NSCV/USL 1E requirements by Marine and Safety Tasmania.


The innovations delivered by MR-1 emanate from a range of sources, firstly the requirements of a vessel associated with MONA and the desire for a new, fresh and out-of-the-box approach.

Chamberlin Marine notes that MONA is not well-known for following convention and a standard ferry would not have been a suitable solution.

“Also key to the final design was the ideas and input of operators Navigators, who sought a vessel designed specifically to meet their needs and used their significant experience to drive the project and ensure they achieved this goal,” said Chamberlin Marine managing director Kim Chamberlin.

“This included appointing a lesser-known designer in Chamberlin Marine which has gained a reputation for innovative thinking and was willing to dedicate the time and effort required to develop a new concept completely from scratch, in order to meet its needs.

“Finally, the wealth of knowledge and experience within Incat Tasmania was able to deliver a level of craftsmanship and quality that is not often found on a vessel of this size. The quality of construction onboard MR-1 is world class and Incat were able to utilise ideas and innovations developed over decades at the forefront of the high-speed ferry industry,” he commented.

Chamberlin Marine teamed with Revolution Design which completed the construction drawings and a range of detailed design work.

“We commenced design work in late May knowing that a vessel delivery date early in the New Year was essential, under such tight time scales teaming up with someone with that level of expertise and a working relationship with the yard was an easy decision,” says Kim Chamberlin. “Within only weeks of us delivering the initial design, the team at Revolution had the first drawings issued to the yard and the vessel was taking shape, they did a fantastic job.”


Chamberlin Marine’s innovative new hull design underwent model testing at the Australian Maritime College facilities in Launceston prior to construction and Chamberlin says it has demonstrated significant advantages over those conventionally utilised on similar vessels as well as low-wash characteristics.

“The hull form was optimised for load-carrying capability in order to efficiently transport the vessel’s impressive fitout, which includes three separate bar and function areas, four open-air viewing decks, extensive use of glass, a large and well-appointed galley, bespoke furniture, a number of art displays and a grand wheelhouse that will be the envy of skippers everywhere,” Kim Chamberlin said.


Far Sitella (right), which was delivered by shipbuilder STX OSV (now Vard) in February, is now working in Australia’s North-West.

Built in Vietnam, the ship is owned by Farstad Shipping in Singapore, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the eponymous Norwegian firm. Farstad sent the ship to Australia to meet its long-term commitment to Shell’s Prelude drilling campaign.

Farstad announced that Shell Australia had awarded the Prelude drilling support contracts in June last year. These commenced with the platform supply vessel Far Spirit in August last year. It was later joined by Far Skimmer, a new-build sister to Far Sitella which was also directly deployed after delivery from the shipyard.

Far Sitella is 81.7m in length overall and 18m wide. It has a maximum deadweight of 4000 tonnes and can carry up to 2500 tonnes on its 810m² deck which is rated to 10 tonnes per square metre.


Australian-designed power catamarans equipped with engines, drives and dynamic-positioning systems supplied by Volvo Penta have taken their place as a new class of support vessels for the America’s Cup.

Designed by Sydney-based naval architects One2Three, the 13.9m catamarans are VIP-spectator craft that also function as a rounding mark of the racecourse.

“One2Three designed the boats to meet the specifications of the America’s Cup Race Management,” said Steve Quigley, managing director of One2Three.

“The design brief was to create a vessel that would be used as an actual rounding mark of the course, be capable of accurately maintaining station and remotely monitored for position, and also provide a visually pleasing and stable platform for camera crews and a ‘ringside seat’ for VIP spectators close to the fast-paced action,” he said.

To facilitate use of a mark of the course, the boats are capable of precise position-keeping, even in strong currents and wind, thanks to the Volvo Penta dynamic-positioning system.

When activated, the system automatically holds the boat’s position and keeps it within a very limited area using GPS coordinates.

The new catamarans are propelled and steered with twin azimuthing Volvo Penta IPS450 pod drives with forward-facing props. Power is from a pair of Volvo Penta D4 diesels, each rated to produce 191kW at 3500rpm. This gives a speed of 28kts.

“The design took advantage of the dynamic-positioning control system and excellent manoeuvring features of the Volvo Penta IPS drives on a hull shape that is specifically designed to be seakindly under all weather conditions and highly efficient at speed,” said Quigley.

Built by East Asia Composites in Zhuhai, China, the cats have a waterline length of 12.9m, beam of 5.5m and draft of 0.67m.


The recent delivery of Njord Lapwing means Strategic Marine is halfway through a series of eight vessels ordered by Njord Offshore (UK), underscoring the Australian-owned shipbuilder’s capability to supply service ships for the offshore windfarm sector.

The Lapwing followed shortly after the delivery of Njord Curlew. Njord Offshore said both vessels had seamless sea trials, an achievement helped through lessons learnt on the first two sisters Njord Avocet and Njord Kittiwake (pictured). That first pair arrived in Europe in late January, having been shipped from Singapore late last year. Lapwing and Curlew are expected in Europe for early May.

The deliveries underscore Strategic’s recent move into a new market sector, one in which it sees significant growth opportunity.

“This major contract with Njord Offshore is our first big step toward achieving our ambition to become the world’s best and biggest supplier of windfarm service vessels,” announced Ron Anderson, Strategic Marine’s executive director.

“We are diversifying and expanding our capability to provide state-of-the-art service vessels for the offshore windfarm sector globally,” he continued. “Our decision to do so stems from dialogue with colleagues in the renewables industry and to observing greater and greater worldwide demand for such project installations.”

Pairing with designers at specialist ship designer and engineering consultant BMT, the boats for Njord Offshore represent another milestone for Strategic.

“Successfully applying our building expertise in yet another new market is extremely satisfying for us,” said Anderson. “We are proud to have set a new benchmark for the offshore windfarm service sector.”

The eight workboats, to be deployed by Madliena Shipping (Jersey) Ltd in Europe’s growing offshore windfarm fields, are 21m, 15 tonnes deadweight crew transfer catamarans classed by DNV with IAI HSLC R2 Windfarm Service 1 notation.

They are powered by MTU engines of 965hp each at 2250rpm for speeds up to 26kts. Each vessel, with a crew of four, can accommodate 12 passengers and provide showers, multimedia capacity and a full galley.

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #439, May 2013.