Adelaide's MG Engineering and Whyalla's Ottoway Engineering secured the contracts, beading out bids from ASC Shipbuilding and Adelaide Ship Construction International.
The blocks, which will be integrated into Fincantieri's cruise ships under construction across world, are expected to be built my mid-2018 using Australian steel.
MG Engineering has been awarded two 22.3-tonne blocks, each 11.25 metres in length, 8.6 metres in width and 7 metres in height, which will be constructed at the company’s Adelaide shipyard. Ottoway Engineering, which has previously participated in the Royal Australian Navy’s Air Warfare Destroyer program, will construct one 23-tonne block – 18 metres in length, 7.5 metres in width and 4 metres in height – at its Whyalla facilities. Construction is expected to employ approximately 40-50 local workers across the two South Australian sites.
All three cruise blocks will form part of a cruise ship’s superstructure. The two constructed by MG Engineering will sit on port and starboard sides of the ship and will be dedicated to accommodation areas. The block constructed by Ottoway Engineering will be located in the central part of the ship and will be dedicated to technical zones where emergency generators are located.
Fincantieri Australia chairman Dario Deste said the SA companies will now become part of the international shipbuilder's global supply chain.
"We’re pleased to welcome two fantastic South Australian companies, MG Engineering and Ottoway Engineering, to our global supply chain," Deste said.
"Fincantieri’s commercial strength and extensive network of global projects make it the ideal partner for local Australian companies to expand their business activities with, ensuring win-win solutions for all.
"It is one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world, with a forward order of some €25 billion and thus, to support our global pipeline of activity, we have a strong need for external partners."
Director of Fincantieri Australia Sean Costello added that the decision to build the blocks in SA is not only a boon for the local industry and economy, but is a key initiative of readying the industry for construction of the Future Frigates.
"Building these blocks in South Australia provides Australian industry with the opportunity to gain experience in commercial shipbuilding, equipping them with new skills and broadening their opportunities to grow and expand into global markets," Costello said. "This initiative also readies Fincantieri to start construction of nine frigates in 2020 with an Australian workforce."
The work is not only a win for the South Australian companies, but also Australian steel companies. An estimated 1,000 square metres of Australian steel will be used, enough to cover four tennis courts. At 52-tonnes, Australian steel will form 86 per cent of the overall weight of the three blocks.
In addition to the cruise ship blocks, as part of Fincantieri’s Industry Plan to develop a sovereign shipbuilding industry in Australia, it has met with more than 440 companies across Australia to explore opportunities for the local industry to be involved in the shipbuilder’s global supply chain. So far it has signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with more than 180 companies.
Most recently, Fincantieri signed an MOU with the Welding Technology Institute of Australia to co-operate in the design and development of new welding technologies and solutions in Australian shipbuilding.
Fincantieri has put forward its FREMM frigate, which is up against BAE Systems' Type 26 vessel and Navantia's F-5000. A decision from the federal government is expected by June this year.