Four South Australian shipbuilders have the opportunity to put in tenders to build three cruise ship blocks in Adelaide next year for a SEA 5000 contender.
As reported by Defence Connect in September, the cruise ship blocks will be integrated into Fincantieri cruise ships under construction across the Italian company's network of 20 shipyards around the globe.
ASC Shipbuilding, Adelaide Ship Construction International, MG Engineering and Ottoway Engineering have been invited to submit offers for the project.
Chairman of Fincantieri Australia Dario Deste said the purpose of this initiative would be to start-up Fincantieri’s shipbuilding operations in Adelaide and gain familiarity with local partners leading into the commencement of the Future Frigate project.
"The size and strength of our operations enables us to invite Australian companies to work on our global projects," Deste said.
"This is a unique opportunity to strengthen our relationships with suppliers, partners and sub-contractors, commencing knowledge transfer and, importantly for the industry, opening up an export market for them. With the strength of Australian steel and a local workforce, we are not only bringing suppliers into our expansive network, but giving them the opportunity to become competitive in a global marketplace."
Fincantieri is one of the largest builders of cruise ships in the world and has built more than 79 cruise ships for cruise liners including P&O Cruises, Carnival, Viking Ocean Cruises and Costa. It is unclear which cruise line the ship blocks are being built for.
Fincantieri's subsidiary Vard will also have expedition cruise vessel blocks for Coral Sea Expeditions constructed in Australia.
If selected in the SEA 5000 Future Frigates Project, Fincantieri will build all nine anti-submarine warfare frigates in Adelaide with an Australian shipbuilding workforce, and has committed to transfer the technology to create continuous naval shipbuilding in Australia.
BAE Systems of the UK and Spain's Navantia are also competing to secure the $35 billion project.
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A decision is expected by mid next year.