“When [Defence Minister Marise Payne] visited us earlier this year she was very clear that she wanted to maintain more vessels in Cairns but that we needed to improve our offering,” said BSE managing director Justin Parer.
The $6 million investment will bring the world’s largest mobile boat hoist to the Cairns Slipway. Manufactured in Italy by Cimolai Technology, the mobile boat hoist will be capable of lifting vessels weighing up to 1,120 tonnes, or the equivalent of the entire population of Cairns.
When completed, the mobile boat hoist will stand taller than a seven-storey apartment building at 23 metres high, will measure over 30 metres in length and over 23 metres wide.
The machine will be supported and moved on 32 wheels and will lift vessels out of the water via eight lifting slings for transfer to a hard stand or maintenance sheds.
The existing dry dock will be decommissioned and the wharf upgraded to accommodate the mobile boat hoist, with the first boat expected to be hauled out in mid-2019. This investment builds the supply chain capability to meet for Australia’s future fleet requirements and demonstrates the industry’s commitment to providing the infrastructure to support the expansion of HMAS Cairns naval base.
Parer said, “This new facility is very exciting but will not be able to lift the OPVs, which are larger and more complex than the existing Armidale Class and Cape Class patrol boats. Further investment will be required but we are taking this one step at a time. What is important to us is that we send a very clear message that Cairns is here to compete and we are starting to invest. Not only can we do it, we are doing it."
The Australian government has committed $380 million to upgrade the HMAS Cairns naval base, with $300 million earmarked for the late 2020s. The federal government has also invested $24 million in the Cairns Marine Precinct to build defence support capacity.
BSE provides a complete Australian east coast dockyard and ship repair service solution for commercial, defence and super yachts from two dockyards located in Brisbane and Cairns.