• Austal will build two Cape Class boats for Trinidad in WA. Austal
    Austal will build two Cape Class boats for Trinidad in WA. Austal

The government of Trinidad and Tobago has announced its intention to purchase two Austal Cape Class patrol boats, which will be built in the Henderson shipyard in WA.

The vessels will enhance the border protection capabilities of the country in conjunction with the existing Coast Guard fleet, and will join six Austal fast patrol craft acquired in 2009.

The Cape Class is a 58 metre aluminium monohull patrol boat with a 4000 nautical mile range and 28-day patrol cycle with a crew of up to 22. The vessel also supports two high speed 7.3 metre inflatable boats used for intercepting other vessels.

The sale is likely to be supported by the Australian government via the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), and follows a demonstration by the RAN of the capabilities of the Cape Class to a delegation of senior Trinidad and Tobago officials, which included Chief of Defence Staff Commodore Hayden Pritchard.

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne met with Commodore Pritchard during the visit and congratulated Austal on the success.

“This is an outstanding success for Austal and demonstrates the strong export potential of our local defence industry,” Minister Pyne said.

“The Cape Class Patrol Boats, used by the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy, provide excellent range and endurance and respond to a range of maritime security threats.”

The order is likely to be valued at $100 million, plus a multi-year ongoing maintenance and support package.

The sale of the vessels is conditional on final contracts being signed in the coming weeks, together with a conclusive offer from EFIC to Trinidad. An initial, lower value design contract is expected to be signed shortly in preparation for the main contract.

In a statement, Austal said it expects to establish a service centre in Trinidad to support these vessels and any additional vessels requiring maintenance.

To date, Austal have built ten Cape Class vessels in Henderson for the Australian Border Force and RAN. Delivery is expected to be in mid-2020.

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