Austal today held the ceremonial keel laying of the first Pacific Patrol Boat vessel for the Commonwealth's $306 million Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne authenticated the keel by committing his signature to a plate that was subsequently welded and placed in the hull of the vessel.
“Austal is delivering on every aspect of the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement project; from the design and build here in Henderson, to the sustainment of the vessels in Cairns,” Austal CEO David Singleton said.
“This project is anticipated to employ more than 200 people directly at Austal and hundreds more through our growing Australian supply chain, providing outstanding career opportunities for both qualified workers and apprentices across the country.
“We’ve already employed more than 30 new apprentices so far this year and we anticipate having 100 on board by the end of 2017,” he added.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) contract was awarded to Austal following a competitive tender in May 2016 and comprises the design, build and sustainment of nineteen 39.5 metre steel-hulled patrol boats, for 12 Pacific Island nations. The vessels are being gifted by the Commonwealth to enhance practical maritime security cooperation across the South Pacific region.
The first vessel, one of four to be delivered to Papua New Guinea, is due for completion in the last quarter of 2018.