The Australian government signed a contract with Austal Ships Pty Ltd on 5 May to build and sustain up to 21 steel-hulled vessels to replace the existing fleet of Pacific Patrol Boats as part of Australia’s new Pacific Maritime Security Program.
CAPTION: Papua New Guinean Pacific Class patrol boat, HMPNGS Rabaul at sea. Photo by Able Seaman Sarah Williams.
As part of the $280 million (ex-GST) contract Austal will design and construct the first 19 vessels in Henderson, securing more than 120 jobs for Western Australia.
Two vessels have also been offered to a new member of the Program, Timor-Leste, with an option for these additional vessels to be constructed by Austal at an agreed fixed price should Timor-Leste accept the offer.
Austal has also been awarded a $24 million (ex-GST) contract to provide support services to the replacement vessels for an initial seven-year period. The total investment in support and sustainment of the vessels, including the conduct of deep maintenance in Cairns, Queensland, is estimated at more than $400 million across the life of the vessels.
Construction of the new vessels will commence in mid-2017, with the first vessel to be delivered in late 2018.
The gifting of these larger and more capable replacement vessels will build on the success of the current Pacific Patrol Boat Program to assist our Pacific Island partners to protect their maritime resources and security interests.
The existing fleet is approaching its end of service life, and will be replaced with a fleet of new Australian-built vessels to assist our Pacific Island partners to continue to take an active role in securing their extensive exclusive economic zones.