Austal has signed a contract worth approximately A$126 million to construct two Cape Class Patrol Boats (CCPB) for the Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago (GORTT). The vessels will be delivered in the second half of 2020.
GORTT first announced its intention to buy the boats in July last year. An interim Schedule Protection Agreement was signed and fees paid to Austal to facilitate commencement of construction and early procurement whilst the contract arrangements were finalised.
Austal began construction with a metal cutting ceremony at the company’s Henderson shipyard on 8 April.
Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said the award of the contract confirmed an important defence export opportunity for Austal and consequent workflow for the company’s Henderson operations.
“It is important to acknowledge that the RAN and the Australian Government were instrumental in the success of this defence export program,” Mr Singleton said.
“The RAN, which operates two CCPBs, was an effective advocate of the CCPB capabilities, hosting a sea ride for the visiting Trinidad & Tobago Chief of Defence Staff and engineering team to assess and experience the vessel’s capabilities.
"The Minister for Trade, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence have all provided continuing support and assistance ensuring Commonwealth support was available for this program. The whole of government advocacy in support of this defence export opportunity has been instrumental to its success.
“Austal’s Cape Class Patrol Boats have been deployed in difficult maritime situations, intercepting irregular arrivals and preventing illegal smuggling. This proven capability has attracted attention from a number of export markets, including Trinidad & Tobago."
Austal originally designed and built ten CCPBs used by the RAN and ABF. The 58 metre all aluminium monohull patrol boats have a 4000 nautical mile range and a 28-day patrol cycle with a crew of up to 22 people, and are fitted with two high speed rigid hull inflatable boats used for intercepting other vessels.
The GORTT requested that the purchase be supported by a financing package through Export Finance Australia (EFA). The Commonwealth announced in December 2018 that the Defence Export Facility would be available to support the program.