The second of six evolved Cape-class patrol boats was launched last week by Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie at the Austal Ships shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
FILE PHOTO: The first Evolved Cape-class patrol boat in the water after being launched. Photo by Austal.
When CONTACT passed on Defence’s official press release covering that event, we thought it odd that the name of the new patrol boat was omitted.
Assuming that this was merely an oversight, we asked Defence what the name of the boat was.
Their response was even more surprising to us– “An announcement regarding the names of the Cape-class patrol boats will be made in due course.”
Surely that’s odd, with two boats already in the water and the remaining four in advanced stages of construction?
We also asked if the new Cape-class boats would be prefixed with HMAS or ADV (Australian Defence Vessel – as two leased boats operated by the Navy are called – ADV Cape Fourcroy and ADV Cape Inscription).
Defence didn’t answer this latter question specifically – though Marine Traffic have the first Navy-owned boat listed with the prefix ABV (though that could well be an assumption) and the name Otway.
BTW, Defence didn’t name the first Cape-class at launch (or since) either – we just picked up Otway from the internet.
This whole topic is a curiosity to us – maybe even a superstitious concern – though no one here has an ounce of nautical blood in our veins.
But, it seems to us, Navy has always been (until now) been on the front foot about ship names.
For example, the current Chief of Navy was proud to promote the name of the future HMAS Arafura even as he placed a coin under its keel on keel-laying day – 18 months before its launch – and, he declared that ceremony to “represent a great naval tradition”.
Come to think of it, the same Navy Chief announced the names of Arafura-class boats two to six during the keel-laying ceremony for number two, during which he said, “the naming of a vessel is a significant milestone”.
So what’s ‘wrong’ with the new Cape-class boats that they don’t deserve a name at keel laying – nor even at launch?