Austal Holds Keel Laying Ceremony for Patrol Boat ‘Cape Jervis’ (Australia)

Austal has hosted the keel-laying ceremony for the fifth vessel (Cape Jervis) of eight 56-metre patrol boats that Austal is designing, building and supporting for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS).

Austal was awarded the contract for the design, construction and through-life support of the Cape Class Patrol Boats for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service in August 2011. The eight 58 metre aluminium monohulls are due to be delivered between March 2013 and August 2015.

Once again demonstrating the rapid progress Austal is making of the Cape Class Patrol Boat Program, on 17 January 2014, Austal hosted the keel-laying ceremony for the fifth vessel (Cape Jervis) of eight 56-metre patrol boats that Austal is designing, building and supporting for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS).

Keel-laying traditionally marks the first significant milestone in a ship’s construction. Historically this was the “laying down” of the main timber making up the backbone of a vessel. Austal’s advanced shipbuilding techniques means fabrication of ship modules begins well before they are actually joined. So today Austal celebrates keel-laying when modules are brought together for final assembly.

Although Austal’s design and manufacturing approach is thoroughly modern, the ceremony retained long held shipbuilding traditions. This included placing three specially minted coins under a keel block as a symbol of good fortune and to bless the ship. These coins will be removed just prior to the patrol boat’s launch.

The three coins were placed by Roman Quaedvlieg, Deputy Chief Executive Officer – ACPBS; Paul Grant, Commanding Officer – Cape St. George and Ben Wardle, Program Manager – Austal. In doing so, the keel block was formally positioned by two of Austal’s high achieving apprentices, Jake Combs and Jason Anson-Clarke.

Mr Nigel Perry, National Director Border Force Capability – ACBPS, as Master of Ceremonies for the event, remarked that, “Cape Jervis represents South Australia in the Cape Class Patrol Boat Program where each of the boats is named after a cape from each state and territory”. Mr Perry praised the efforts of both the ACPBS and Austal teams in delivering what continues to be a successful program.

 Mr Ben Wardle provided an address noting, “The Cape Class Patrol Boat Program was a successful collaboration that in a short space of time had taken the program from only one vessel in production to now six vessels in production. Austal is proud to be laying the fifth keel of the Cape Class Patrol vessels on schedule. Cape Byron, the second vessel in the fleet, was successfully launched last week, some four weeks ahead of schedule. All this is supported by a workforce, including additional apprentices, that has increased by over 100 in recent months with the program now more than half way through the construction phase.”

Cape Class is a program of work that underpins Austal’s strategy as a global defence prime contractor of Ships, Systems and Support. It is a program that has also enabled Austal to reposition and strengthen the Henderson facilities as a defence-focused operation. Along with key intermediate and deep level sustainment activities being performed in Henderson on both Cape and Armidale Class vessels, this total solution capability represents the future of the Australian business as Austal continues to expand and enhance the strategic industry capability necessary to meet the current and future defence needs of Australia and other nations.

In doing so, the Cape Class Patrol Boats play a significant role in Operation Sovereign Borders i.e. protecting Australia’s borders from multiple maritime threats and have been designed to have greater range, endurance and flexibility, as well as enhanced capability to operate in more severe sea conditions and across longer range than the current Customs and Border Protection and indeed Royal Australian Navy Patrol Boat fleet.

Apart from the Cape Class Patrol Boats, Austal is prime contractor for two major defence projects – the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) – for the United States Navy.

Austal, January 21, 2014

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