Western Australia's Civmec has finally been awarded a contract by Luerssen Australia to play the lead role in the SEA 1180 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) program.
The awarded scope includes the supply and processing of steel for all 12 vessels. Following the build of the first two vessels in South Australia, which will be built by ASC Shipbuilding, Civmec will undertake specific fabrication and construction activities for the following 10 vessels.
Final consolidation of the 10 vessels will be undertaken at its new $80-million shipbuilding facility in Henderson, WA, which is currently under construction.
With this contract, Civmec's order book now stands in excess of $800 million.
Pat Tallon, CEO of Civmec, said the project will secure long-term work for the company's current and future employees.
"Securing such long-term work is great news for the company, our employees and our current and future apprentices and trainees," said Tallon. "It reinforces our decision to invest in the development of a new state-of-the-art shipbuilding facility at our Henderson yard."
James Fitzgerald, executive chairman of Civmec, added that the contract will shape the West Australian company's future plans in defence industry and further collaboration with German ship designer, Luerssen.
"The award of this contract is of momentous significance for the company and will underpin both the company’s growth, and the development of its employees, for current and future generations," Fitzgerald said.
"Both Luerssen and our company have similar corporate attitudes and a culture of maximising efficiency while maintaining excellent standards of safety and quality. We are looking forward to working with Luerssen on this project and further strengthening our relationship to target additional opportunities together in the future."
Luerssen was named as the preferred designer for the $4-billion SEA 1180 project in November last year, beating out bids from Dutch company Damen, which was also partnered with ASC and Civmec, as well as German company Fassmer, which was in a joint venture with Austal, for the project.
However, in announcing the project last year, the Australian government created a hiccough in the project, asking Luerssen to include Western Australia's Austal in the project.
After months of negotiations, Austal's role in the project still remains unclear. In response to news of the contract between Civmec and Luerssen, Austal said negotiations with the German shipbuilder are still ongoing.
"The Government appointed a highly respected and experienced engineering executive to facilitate the process to ensure the best outcome for the project is achieved” Austal CEO David Singleton said.
The first two OPVs will be built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia by ASC, with construction starting this year. The remaining 10 will be constructed at the Henderson Maritime Precinct in Western Australia from 2020.
The OPVs will have an important role protecting Australia’s borders and will provide greater range and endurance for the Navy than the existing patrol boat fleet.