Commercial Marine News 441


WA-headquartered shipbuilder Austal has merged the operations of its Henderson Marine Support Base (MSB) into those of the nearby Australian shipyard and closed its Spanish service business, in a quest to improve profitability.

The company is also increasing construction activity at Henderson as the Cape Class Patrol Boat (CCPB) program shifts from first-in-class construction and trials to steady-state construction operations.

Austal says it is transferring service operations from the MSB, which was opened in May 2012, to its nearby shipbuilding facility to reduce overhead costs and drive margin growth for both its shipbuilding and service operations. A decision has not been made whether to sell or lease out the shipyard infrastructure at the service base. Twelve positions were made redundant as a result of the consolidation.

Austal CEO, Andrew Bellamy said the consolidation would improve asset and staff utilisation in the shipbuilding and services businesses.

“Combining the service base into the shipbuilding facility, which is operating just a few hundred metres away, makes financial and common sense,” said Bellamy. “Consolidation will provide greater operational flexibility, make both the shipbuilding and services businesses more competitive through reduced overhead costs and will bring management together onto one site.”

Austal will close its service centre in Spain, however its other service businesses in the Middle East, Americas, Asia and Australia are unaffected.

“Our service team in Spain has been extremely committed, but the Spanish and European economies have been too big a burden on profitability in that business,” said Bellamy.

The company is intending to recruit more than 100 people in trade positions over the coming months to work on the Cape Class Patrol Boat (CCPB). The increased labour requirement results from the impending phased increase in construction activity on the CCPB vessels after delivery of the first boat.


The Federal Government has promised to invest more than $22 million to boost the future freight capacity of northern Tasmania and improve the skills base of the State’s maritime workforce.

The Government will invest:

?$5.2 million towards a new $8 million intermodal freight terminal at Bell Bay, to facilitate the movement of Tasmania’s logging and other bulk freight, with the Tasmanian Government contributing $2.7 million;

?Almost $12 million over four years in extra funding for the Australian Maritime College (AMC) at the University of Tasmania, allowing the College to deliver specialised training to more than 500 students; and,

?$5 million to assist the Australian shipping industry to meet its future workforce training needs as part of the Government’s shipping reforms.

Tasmanian traders move about 450,000 freight containers into and out of the State each year. Bell Bay is home to the largest heavy industrial precinct in Tasmania and reopened direct monthly exports to Asia earlier this year.

The new intermodal freight terminal will make freight movements in and out of Bell Bay more efficient and generate broader economic benefits.

Funding for the AMC is designed to help rebuild the Australian shipping fleet and the skills base needed to keep the industry growing and prospering. Funding will see the college train more seafarers than ever before.

The Federal Labor Government says it is not only committed to maintaining funding for the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme, which has increased from $101.2 million in 2007 to $110.2 million this year, but since coming to power it had provided more than $600 million to support the movement of people and the State’s products across Bass Strait.


There will be a change in management of leading offshore supply vessel operator Farstad Shipping (Indian Pacific) at the end of July.

Managing director Joseph M. Homsey steps down after being at the helm of the company in Australia – including other Farstad Shipping operations on the Eastern Hemisphere – since 2003, when Farstad Shipping acquired local operation after a six-year joint venture with P&O.

Under the direction of Homsey, Farstad Shipping has seen solid growth and substantial development, today laying claim to being the leading offshore supply vessel company in Australia.

Wayne Aitken has been appointed as the new managing director and will take up the role at the start of August.


Released in early May, the latest Defence White Paper has a number of implications for the Australian marine industry, particularly when taken in conjunction with the simultaneously-released Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan.

Some of the new capability commitments outlined in the Paper aim to enhance maritime security capabilities, while contributing to the long-term sustainment of Australia’s critical naval shipbuilding industry.

The Government confirmed its commitment to replacing the Collins Class submarines with an expanded fleet of 12 conventional submarines to be assembled in South Australia. This Future Submarine Program will now focus on two options: an ‘evolved Collins Class’ design; and new design options, thereby abandoning the prospect of acquiring an existing off-the-shelf design. The Government has also directed further detailed work on establishing a land-based test facility in Adelaide.

The Government announced it intends to replace the capability currently provided by the supply ships HMAS Success and HMAS Sirius at the first possible opportunity. This will include examination of options for local, hybrid and overseas build or the leasing of an existing vessel.

Also newly announced was a decision to bring forward the replacement of the RAN’s Armidale Class Patrol Boats and to replace the Pacific Patrol Boats, with both preferably replaced by proven designs. A multirole vessel, which was slated as a major program in the previous White Paper, remains a possible longer-term project, subject to technological maturity and an ability to provide operational flexibility with lower costs of ownership.

The Government says its response to the Future Submarine Industry Skills Plan addresses key issues in the long-term management of the Australian naval shipbuilding industry and will assure maritime security capability while providing more certainty to industry. It will do this through consideration of a smoother, coordinated shipbuilding program that will provide a more stable pattern of work for the industry and retain critical skills for the future through a range of specific measures.

In the short term these measures includes reallocation of four AWD steel hull blocks from the Forgacs shipyard in Newcastle to the BAE Systems shipyard in Melbourne, and the decision to replace the RAN supply ships.

In addition to bringing forward the replacement of the Armidale Class Patrol Boats, consideration will be given to bringing forward the replacement of the ANZAC Class frigates.


Mackay Marina Village and Shipyard has been named Marina of the Year for the second time by the Marina Industries Association, in the category Commercial Marinas over 140 Berths.

Announced at the Marine13 conference in Sydney in April, the awards are judged on criteria including facilities, services, environmental measures, community involvement, training and industry involvement.

“This is a great achievement for Mackay and is a real credit to the team at the marina,” said marina and shipyard manager Ben Anderson.

The Mackay marina was first named Marina of the Year in 2006 and is an official Port Of Entry with onsite Customs and Quarantine.

Located in Central Queensland at the gateway to the Whitsundays, the precinct comprises a 479-berth marina including six superyacht berths, specially designed multihull berths, and commercial fishing and maintenance berths. The marina caters for vessels up to 50m in length with up to 3.5m draft at LAT.

Mackay Marina Shipyard features secure maintenance and repair facilities on a 14,000m² concrete hardstand with onsite trades, weatherproof paint and maintenance sheds, blasting and a 65-tonne travelift with a 9.2m beam. The facility has received an above-compliance rating from the EPA and also a newly installed keel pit to cater for deep-draft yachts.


Hobart’s Richardson Devine Marine has completed construction of yet another passenger ferry for the international market, the 45m cat Kilimanjaro IV (photos above).

The catamaran design comes from Incat Crowther, making it the seventh vessel from the Sydney-headquartered design house in the fleet of Tanzania’s Coastal Fast Ferries.

Incat Crowther says the vessel capitalises on the rapid growth in the operator’s passenger numbers and is the result of a process of close cooperation between Richardson Devine Marine, the operator and designer that results in “a vessel offering high-speed, high-passenger capacity and rugged efficiency”.

Kilimanjaro IV’s main deck has two partitioned passenger spaces – an 86-seat business-class cabin and a 168-seat economy-class cabin. Upstairs is a premium-class cabin with 88 seats.

Each class has its own independent boarding ramp to port and starboard. Additional boarding is provided on the upper deck aft.

Exterior economy-class seating is provided on the upper aft deck (130 seats), roof deck (90 seats) and foredeck (70 seats). Total passenger capacity is 606 persons.

In addition to high passenger capacity, to service growing demand for fast freight Kilimanjaro IV has a large freight capacity capable of carrying 32 freight carts in a dedicated freight compartment, with a fully integrated freight transfer system.

Powered by four Cummins KTA 50 M2 main engines, Kilimanjaro IV shares common machinery with earlier vessels in the fleet, to streamline maintenance and spares inventory. Each engine can deliver up to 1342kW at 1900rpm via ZF 7600 NR2H gearboxes. Propulsion is through Kamewa 50A3 waterjets.

In trials, Kilimanjaro IV achieved a loaded service speed of 35kts and is capable of a top speed of 38kts.

Principal particulars for the aluminium ferry include an overall length of 44.7m, waterline length of 42.9m, beam of 11.5m and hull draft of 1.1m. Its tanks provide capacity for 20,000lt of diesel and 4000lt of freshwater.


Victoria’s Water Police are having a new high-speed patrol catamaran custom built for it in New Zealand by Q-West Boatbuilders.

The design for the aluminium catamaran comes from the drawing board of another NZ firm Teknicraft.

The company says the Victoria Water Police decided that a Teknicraft design would provide the best features and performance for their operations following extensive research.

The new patrol boat will have an overall length of 14.8m, beam of 5.6m and draft of 0.8m. With a total of 1102kW on tap from a pair of Scania DI13 077M diesels and propulsion provided by HamiltonJet HJ364 waterjets, the catamaran is expected to have a service speed of 28kts and be capable of up to 36kts.


The Royal New Zealand Navy’s first Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) boat has been named Takapu (photos right).

The ceremony was a milestone in the project which entails the delivery of two new REA boats, increasing the Navy’s amphibious, diving, surveying and rapid-response capabilities.

The boats were designed by NZ naval architect Alan Walker of Coastdesign Naval Architecture and built in Opua by Northland Spars and Rigging.

Takapu and its sister boat Tarapunga can be towed on a trailer, carried aboard Navy Offshore Patrol Vessels and HMNZS Canterbury and in an Air Force C-130 Hercules.

The 9.2m long aluminium boats, with a beam of 2.68m, are being built for the Navy’s specialist Littoral Warfare Support Force to provide fast access to harbours and other shore areas to conduct anti-mine work, surveying, diving support, disaster relief and similar operations. They are officially termed MCM/REA (Mine Counter-Measure/Rapid Environmental Assessment) boats.

“These are narrow boats because they have to fit into a C-130,” said Walker. “I’ve designed ones like them before, but wider – a Fiji dive boat. The only way to get stability in such a narrow boat is to make it a catamaran. Of course, if you look at it, it’s really a monohull with a slot down the middle.”

The boats have space for at least six crew, including a cabin providing dry working conditions for two crew with notebook computers, a toilet, basic cooking facilities and freshwater, a winching/davit arrangement to lift objects weighing up to 200kg from a depth of 60m and the ability to tow a 500kg submerged weight. Their required endurance is 18 hours (six hours at 24kts plus 12 hours at 6kts).

Indicative tasks include rapid reconnaissance or in military parlance Rapid Environmental Assessments (REA) of the Area of Operations (AO), Mine Countermeasures (MCM) operations, diving and military hydrographic surveying.

The boats are expected to be able to enable the following tasks to be conducted: Military hydrographic survey and MCM operations including towing of light-weight side-scan sonar, boat-mounted echo sounder, support for REMUS (Remote Environmental Measuring Units) search/survey tasks and delivery of a beach survey team to a beach area in benign conditions (where the beach will be capable of supporting landing craft operations).

Dive operations including underwater search and support for obstruction clearance operations such as the removal of objects remaining in the port approach and main harbour and in the vicinity of the wharf.


A 24m catamaran passenger ferry (at right) built by Aluminium Marine in Brisbane has left the shed without being sold.

The Incat Crowther design is, not surprisingly, available for immediate sale and can be customised to suit the operator’s requirements. The designer says it is suitable for commuter service, day-cruise operations or crew transfer.

The ferry follows in the wake of near sister ships Fantasea Sunrise, Freedom Sovereign and Riverside Avalon.

Fitted with twin Yanmar 6AYM-GTE main engines, she is capable of speeds in excess of 28kts, with a service speed of 25kts.


Qld’s Assistant Minister for Emergency Volunteers, Ted Malone, did the honours at the official launch of the Mooloolaba Coast Guard’s (QF6) latest rescue boat.

Malone said the new million-dollar vessel Rhondda Rescue (top right) – named after Mooloolaba Coast Guard patron Michael Alexander’s wife – is a 13.7m monohull equipped with cutting-edge equipment ready for all kinds of rescues.

Powered by twin 8.3lt Cummins QSC engines, each rated at 500hp, the new boat has a sprint speed of 27kts.

“It was built without compromise,” said Rod Ashlin, senior Mooloolaba Coast Guard skipper, who was project manager for the new craft.

The Coastguard formed a committee in 2010 to begin the planning process for the rugged all-weather Rhondda Rescue. “We started with a clean sheet of paper in designing the vessel,” Ashlin said.

He points out the Coast Guard had a clear idea of the features it wanted and selected West Australian firm Mark Ellis Marine Design as the designer.

“Mark Ellis has a well-proven hull, which was the key starting point for us,” said Ashlin.

The aluminium vessel was built by Brisbane’s Aluminium Boats Australia, which Ashlin said “exceeded the spec without cost to the Coast Guard”.

“We researched the diesel engine options extensively before selecting the Cummins QSC,” he continued. “We spoke to many users of marine diesel engines and the consensus in the industry was that Cummins would be the best choice because it was a proven brand with proven back-up support.”

The vessel is equipped with two 1000lt diesel tanks and also carries 600lt in the keel for added stability.

Rhondda Rescue’s top speed of 27kts meets the Australian Volunteer Coastguard’s requirement for a 25kts capability.

Other features of the boat include a raised pilothouse for excellent visibility and a small flybridge (behind the pilothouse) with two wing stations for close quarters manoeuvring and providing a commanding view of the working deck. A complete walkaround deck allows for safe crew passage and deck work.

Crew amenities include a galley-mess room along with a two-berth cabin and toilet below the raised pilothouse.

“Rhondda Rescue is a tremendous piece of maritime engineering capable of navigating in all weather and most conditions, day or night, and is fitted with broadband radar navigation, thermal imaging as well as infrared and night-vision systems,” Malone said.

“She has a range of more than 400nm, which is greater than any vessel in the region and will allow the crews to conduct long-range rescues off the Queensland coast.

“The vessel also has the latest medical rescue equipment such as a floating stretcher allowing the Coast Guard crew and their emergency service colleagues to offer optimum patient care while at sea,” he said.

Malone commended the team at Mooloolaba Coast Guard for their commitment to the community and encouraged all boaties to take extra care while on the water.

“I never tire of meeting Coast Guard volunteers because without them many more lives could be lost at sea every year,” said Malone.

Mooloolaba Coast Guard typically responds to around 120 calls for assistance in a year. Rhondda Rescue is backed-up by two smaller vessels.


The 22m-high mast for the first Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) has been delivered to the AWD Alliance in Adelaide. It was transported by barge from local company, MG Engineering.

The mast is one of the most defining features of the destroyers and will house significant elements of the Aegis weapon system, including the navigation radar and the SPQ-9B, or ‘Spook’ horizon-search radar.

Port Adelaide company MG Engineering is producing the three 25-tonne masts under a $3.25 million contract.

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #441, June/July 2013