First Australian Steel Cut for Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel Program

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The Australian Defence Force has reached a key landmark in its new naval shipbuilding program, with first steel cut for the country’s twelve new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) in the SEA 1180 project.

The OPVs will be built with Australian steel prepared and processed in Western Australia.

Civmec supplied the first OPV steel to shipbuilding operations in Osborne, South Australia by ASC Shipbuilding. The first cut of steel commenced on 26th September, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison attending the ceremonies.

Civmec Entrepreneurial Executive Chairman Jim Fitzgerald told Asia Pacific Defence Reporter on the day, “we have already had steel delivered from Bluescope for forming, and we are currently preparing it here now.”

Defence confirmed the project was on schedule in a statement:

“The SEA 1180 project is currently on schedule and on budget. Construction of the first Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) is on track to commence mid-November 2018 at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia. Keel laying for OPV 1 is scheduled to occur in February 2019.”

ASC welcomed permanent representatives from German shipbuilder Luerssen to the Osborne facility ahead of fabrication. Luerssen is the prime contractor to supply the 12 new OPVs for the navy, working with ASC to build the first pair of OPVs.

Civmec will build the other ten vessels in WA by 2020. Steelwork for preparing and forming steel is underway at their new $85m facility at Henderson, which will also house large-scale OPV construction.

The facility houses a blast and paint workshop, undercover storage, administration areas, and carparks for staff.

Civmec says the facility project will create 140 jobs, with over 1,000 positions available once OPV operations are underway. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) states it will also create 100 new apprentices and trainees.

“Our Government’s investment in Australia’s naval shipbuilding program demonstrates our commitment to the safety and security of our nation, its people and its borders, and it represents an unprecedented investment in the local economy, workers and skills,” the OPM said in a statement.

Civmec is an integrated multi-disciplinary heavy engineering and construction provider to the metals and minerals, oil and gas, infrastructure, water and energy, as well as marine and defence markets. In civilian applications, Civmec provided and erected all steelwork packages along with supply and installation of precast concrete components for the new Optus Stadium in Perth. Its current order book is in excess of $800m.

The SEA 1180 Phase 1 OPVs are to replace the aging 13 Armidale Class Patrol Boats. The primary role of the vessels will be to undertake law enforcement missions including front-line maritime patrol and response duties.

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