Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Stephen Smith quietly sinks fast-cat buy

  • March 19, 2012 12:00AM

The 100m fast catamaran can move troops up to 1500km. Source: Supplied

DEFENCE Minister Stephen Smith's push to buy a giant high-speed navy catamaran capable of carrying more than 300 troops to a disaster zone or regional conflict has been quietly shelved.

Mr Smith ordered Defence to investigate the potential purchase of a fast catamaran last year to ensure there was no repeat of the Cyclone Yasi debacle, when navy did not have any amphibious ships available to assist in the clean-up from the February 2011 disaster.

The 100m fast catamaran would have given the navy the ability to move troops and vehicles at a speed of about 35 knots to a range of up to 1500km.

It would also have been a major boost to local shipbuilders, Incat in Hobart or Austal in Mr Smith's home town of Perth, which both produce large high-speed catamarans for the US navy.

But sources say Defence decided against the highly capable vessels because it needed ships that could more easily load and offload cargo in disaster zones where there are no fixed port facilities.

Mr Smith is believed to have agreed with Defence's final assessment despite his initial enthusiasm for the fast-cat purchase, which had not been budgeted for in the formal defence procurement schedule known as the Defence Capability Plan.

In 1999, the navy chartered an Incat 86m vessel for use during the East Timor crisis, and it made more than 100 trips between Darwin and Dili to transport troops and supplies.

The rejection of the fast-catamaran concept means Defence is likely to choose a more conventional amphibious vessel later this year to supplement its current amphibious fleet, made up of HMAS Choules and HMAS Tobruk.

The plan to purchase a third amphibious ship was announced in December. The three vessels will ensure the navy can respond to humanitarian and disaster relief between now and when the giant Landing Helicopter Dock ships arrive in the middle of the decade.

In February last year Mr Smith lashed out at Defence for having a "can do and make do" culture that paid too little attention to bread-and-butter issues such as the maintenance of its fleet.

He was speaking after the navy had informed him that in the wake of Queensland's Cyclone Yasi, none of the navy's three large amphibious ships was able to go to sea to potentially assist with the clean-up operation.

The embarrassing bungle triggered a review of the navy's amphibious fleet and also of maintenance issues.

The government entered into an arrangement with the New Zealand navy to share its amphibious ship, the Canterbury. It also purchased the Largs Bay, a giant amphibious ship from the British navy and renamed it HMAS Choules.

The navy's newest amphibious ship, to be purchased in the coming months, will be an off-the-shelf vessel to allow it to be brought into service as quickly as possible.

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  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

FULL of excitement , I boarded the South Sea Cruises Yasawa Flyer, a comfortable, fast catamaran, bound for the Yasawas.

Hearing so much about the speedy Flyer, its service and always on schedule on the 25 drop-off spots beginning from South Sea Island with 26 stop-overs until its final destination at Nacula Island, I was anxious to visit well known resorts such as Kuata Natural Resort, Waya Lailai Island Resort, Oarsman Bay Lodge, Blue Lagoon Beach Resort, Nabua Lodge, and Safe Landing Resort to name a few.

Indeed it was my first travel aboard this South Seas cruise boat and looking forward to my journey into the unknown on what lay beyond that would equip me with valuable information. It was a trip for an assignment to cover the yearly Lako Sivia ceremony that usually takes place at Waya Sewa in the village of Namara, and also a visit to Yaqeta Island. It was in 1918 when measles hit Fiji for the second time resulting in the death of more than 10,000 people. But a message on the sand at Wailoaloa in Nadi saved the villagers of Waya from this deathly illness.

In 1875, 30,000 Fijians died in a measles epidemic introduced by Fijians returning from Sydney.

Mingling among tourists and a few locals on board, I happened to meet the Captain's Lounge hostess and Kadavu lass, 22-year-old Bulou Jojiana Vasuturaga who provided me with valuable information.

In fact, Yasawa was first sighted by Captain Bligh during one of his expeditions to Fiji in May 1789 on his ship The Bounty. Also found in the Yasawa's are ancient inscriptions believed to be Asiatric in origin.

"Actually there are almost 20 islands of volcanic origin in the Yasawa group, and six of them are reasonably sized and lie in a chain north-west of Viti Levu," she said.

"As you can see, most of these tourists are attracted to its white sandy beaches and beautiful sunset on the horizon.

"It's a sight not to be missed," she added.

To visit Yasawa, one should be at Port Denarau before departure time at 8.30am. You will be back at port again at 6pm.

"Most of the tourist that travel with us come from Europe. Coming from different countries, they also have different accents. They like to talk to locals a lot so I advise our own (locals) not to be ashamed and just talk, anyways English is not our mother tongue," says Bulou.

There were so much to see and experience as we headed towards the passage between Waya Sewa and Kuata.

Kuata assistance manager Ifereimi Jieke, 49, said to reach Yasawa one has to stopover at Kuata and Waya Sewa.

"This is the gateway to the Yasawas," he added.

Both islands are situated at the lower end of the Yasawa group and much closer to the main land of Viti Levu.

According to the Fiji Handbook travel guide, Waya Lailai is situated to the south of Waya's south-east point and has an area of 6.4 square kilometres with three villages. A high ridge runs down the middle and ends in a peak 353 metres high in the south. Whereas Kuata it is due south of Waya Sewa with ridges rising to 173 metres.

"Kuata means quarter because of its size compared to Waya Sewa and Waya Levu. It is almost a quarter size of Waya Levu," Jieke said.

Waya itself is 22 square kilometres with its two outliers, Waya Sewa and Kuata to the south. This island is known for its size having several very sharp peaks, the highest rising in the north-east end to 571 metres called Tunayau peak.

According to the villagers, in 2005 more than 100 cows mysteriously disappeared from the village in a single day and carelessly slaughtered up in the hills leaving behind blood stains and heads. Until today no evidence of the rest of the cows has been found.

Nalauwaki villager Saimoni Lato said it is a sign of anger by their kalou vu (mythical gods).

Further in the journey we sailed past Naviti, then the next stop ù Yaqeta.

Awaiting everyone was 65-year-old Kinijoji Rakata with his outboard aluminium boat, Kaloumana afloat on the blue coloured lagoon as the Yasawa Flyer slowed down allowing my companion Jiuta Delaibatiki and I to board. It was also the destination for visitors bound for the Long Beach Resort and Navutu Stars Resort.

No words can describe the scenery of natural beauty we encountered.

There's so much to explain but one really needs to see to believe.

After presenting a sevusevu at the village to the chief, the Ratu ni Yaqeta, Ratu Semisi Bete, 67, with Delaibatiki, we headed off to have lunch. It was fresh boiled balagi fish with lemon, chilli, salt and uto. After lunch I then hired Rakata's boat the Kaloumana for a tour around the other side of the side.

The heat of the blazing sun high above did not deter me from continuing my journey.

Accompanied by Delaibatiki, Ratu Ifereimi Naqiri, 29, and Rakata we visited their old village site, mass grave of those who died from measles in 1918 and it's white sandy beaches.

Alas all was not over, as Rakata said without fishing, you still haven't been to Yaqeta.

The island of Yaqeta is about 7.3 square metres in area and has only one village, Matayalevu with about 500 people.

It was almost sunset as we headed forward between Naviti and Yaqeta island to fish and watch the sun showing it's last rays over the horizon.

Too beautiful to describe, the scenery with rays of gold colours could only be seen across the waters of Yasawa.

For any local thinking of travelling overseas for a holiday, I would recommend that a visit across the sea to the Yasawas would be the best place for you or the whole family. Just to see and experience the wonders of creation on the island of sunsets.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
Incat Crowther recently launched Xun Long 5, the first of two vessels to be built by AFAI Southern shipyard for Xunlong Shipping Co. The contract to design these two vessels was won in a tight competitive tender process, and Incat Crowther is proud of the support offered to AFAI Southern to assist them to secure this contract.
The 34m, 188 passenger vessel features a mix of passenger classes over two decks. The main deck seats 154 economy class passengers. The forward end of the main deck cabin houses a kiosk, forward of which is a crew room. 3 toilets are located aft on this deck, as is a large electrical room.

The upper deck seats 40 in booths with tables, as well as lounge that seats 6. There is an 8-passenger VIP room aft and an additional toilet. Four large luggage containers are accommodated on the aft upper deck, and there are stairs to roof deck. The raised wheelhouse offers excellent visibility over the foredeck, with direct access to external wing control stations for easier and safer berthing operations.

Xun Long 5 is powered by a pair of MTU 16V2000 M70 main engines. These engines drive through a pair of ZF4540 gearboxes to MJP 550DD water jets.

On recent sea trials, Xun Long 5 performed well, achieving its contracted loaded service speed of 28 knots. The vessel has a top speed of 30 knots.

The vessel is in survey to China’s CCS rules.

Incat Crowther’s attention to clients’ needs is unparalleled, and is further demonstrated by Xun Long 5, a vessel tailored perfectly to Xun Long Shipping Co’s needs.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

SHIPBUILDER Incat Tasmania has suffered a blow after the Defence Department canned a plan to buy a high-speed catamaran for the navy.

It was revealed yesterday the department had recommended to Defence Minister Stephen Smith that the purchase not go ahead.

The decision leaves Incat with an unsold 112m vessel (Hull 67) sitting in the Derwent.

The catamaran builder last sold a vessel to French company LD Lines in March 2009.

Incat managing director Craig Clifford said he last spoke to Defence a month ago and discussions had been on and off for nearly 12 months.

"It has been ongoing and they know what we have got and we have been part of their deliberations," he said.

Mr Clifford said he had not been officially informed the purchase would not go ahead.

"It was an important opportunity for us and if a decision has been made, we will either rejoice or be disappointed," he said.

"Obviously, we would like to have seen the vessel back with the Royal Australian Navy."

Incat leased a vessel to the navy in 1999 and it ran supplies between Darwin and Dili, in East Timor. Incat has three vessels on lease to the US navy and army.

The desire for a high-speed catamaran came after Australia's capabilities were deemed unsatisfactory in the wake of Cyclone Yasi, which hit Queensland in February last year. The new vessel was aimed at carrying up to 300 troops at high speed for a regional conflict or natural disaster.

Mr Clifford said the vessel had been presented to Defence but had not yet been fitted out.

Incat, which employs 300 people, is building a revolutionary liquefied natural gas-powered 99m vessel (Hull 69) for South American customer Buquebus.

Sea trials would be conducted in November.

News of the Defence decision comes at difficult time for Incat. It has been hurt by the strength of the Australian dollar, which has pushed the value of the vessels out to more than $120 million.

Last financial year, Incat recorded a $6.1 million loss after an $8.3 million loss the year before.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Tropher Marine, an indigenous boat building factory located in Ajah, Lagos State, has produced and delivered to the market, the first made-in-Nigeria executive catamaran boats.

Catamarans are double hall boats that stand strongly on two legs, designed specifically to move stably on Nigerian waterways. The company, which has the capability to produce any type of boat in Nigeria and its Sri Lanka factory, has competent naval architects that include Nigerians and expatriates.

Christopher Ajayi, executive vice chairman, Tropher Marine, told our correspondent that the company is targeting the ferry market with the introduction of catamaran boat, which is more stable, with aims to build confidence in the market because Torpher has the license to become a ferry operator.

“We are putting some of our boats on water to be doing ferry services. We want to encourage many people to come into the waterways because if more people come into the waterways, it creates opportunity to build more boats and create more jobs for our youths.

We have three boats that we are dedicating to driving training, boat building, and repair,” he added. In sourcing raw materials for production, Ajayi disclosed that the fiber mats and other materials are sourced from local suppliers while key materials like engines and windows are imported.

On the benefit of building in Nigeria, he stated that it was more expensive to import boats into the country but cheaper to build in Nigeria due to high quality and high cost of human resources abroad.

“Anybody who is bringing in boats from abroad is paying for quality because quality is a function of human capacity, and we do not have those capacities locally.

What we are doing in Nigeria to build capacity is that we have strategic alliance with department of Marine Science, University of Lagos, to build capacity based on the fact that we believe that if we build our own local competency, it will help to create jobs,” Ajayi explained.

He also bemoaned lack of adequate power supply, noting that power is the infrastructural challenge confronting boat production in the country.

“It is non-competitive to run diesel everyday and it has direct impact on the cost of production. In our boatyard in Sri Lanka, there is nothing like power failure,” he said, and therefore called on government to do something about power.

He added that his company’s dream was to develop into ship building yard, which was why they sent two of their staff to Korea to learn the language and undergo shipping vocational training, different from naval architecture.

“Shipping requires 70 percent welding and joining of steel, while welding gulps power, so it can never be competitive for someone to weld in Nigeria without power,” Ajayi concluded.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Eight people were rescued from Doubtful Sound after the 12m catamaran they were in sank in poor weather.

An Invercargill police spokesman said the people on board the catamaran, understood to be the Charlie Cat, had been retrieving cray pots about 11am on Saturday when the boat's steering failed and the vessel began taking on water.

The skipper called a nearby fishing boat for help while all on board prepared to abandon the boat.

Five people managed to get into a lifeboat while the remaining three swam to shore.

Te Anau fisherman Bruce Gordon, skipper of the commercial crayfishing boat KCee, responded to the call within 15 minutes, picking up all eight people from rocks.

Mr Gordon's wife Natasha said her husband took the group to Deep Cove before returning to Thompson Sound, hoping to locate the boat, which sank rapidly off Pack Point.

Maritime New Zealand spokeswoman Sophie Hazlehurst said it was aware of the incident and was making preliminary inquiries. A decision whether a full investigation would be launched would be made within a week.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
After an $8.6 million facelift, the Vallejo ferry Intintoli resumed service from the Vallejo waterfront Sunday, ending a 13-month hiatus.

The ferry's multi-million dollar facelift of both the exterior and interior was covered by several grants, Baylink Ferry General Manager Martin Robbins said.


At 10 a.m. Sunday, the Intintoli, named after former mayor Anthony Intintoli, made its first commute from Vallejo's waterfront to San Francisco's Pier 41.


"This new vessel is heavier, so it makes for a smoother ride," said boat Captain Chuck Elles. It is also faster, Elles added. Now, the vessel can travel up to 40 knots, which is equivalent to about 46 mph, compared to about 32 knots before the refurbishment, he said.


The upgrades include new seats, carpeting, navigation equipment, engine, piping, flat screen TVs, and many more.


"It's pretty dramatic," Robbins said. "It was a tired vessel when it went up there, now it looks like a brand new one."


The Intintoli left Vallejo in January, 2011, for Washington, where the overhaul was done. Another Vallejo ferry, the Mare Island, is also being refurbished by the same company and is scheduled to return in about seven months, Elles said.


Elles has been navigating the Vallejo ferries since 1992. The Mare Island and Intintoli were purchased and had their maiden voyages about five years later.


"The best part is my view," Elles said, as he navigated the boat toward San Francisco, approaching the city's silhouette


of the cluster of high-rises and the profile of the Bay Bridge.

"My favorite part of the day is to watch the sunset."


The route from Vallejo to San Francisco takes from 50 minutes to an hour, passing many landmarks, including Alcatraz, the San Rafael Bridge and Angel Island, with breathtaking views of Mount Tamalpais and the Golden Gate Bridge. Elles said on lucky days, he could catch a sight of whales and porpoises along the route.


Sacramento residents Yvonne Lopez and Alfred Enlow were among about two dozen weekend passengers who rode the 1 p.m. Intintoli from Vallejo. It was Lopez's first time on one of the Vallejo boats.


"I thought it was very smooth, and nice," she said of Sunday's trip on the Intintoli. "I will definitely take it again to go to the city. I don't like to drive, and with the gas prices going up, this is a good alternative."


The one way fare is $13; $24 for a round trip for ages 13 to 64. Children ages 5 and under ride free, while tickets are $6.50 for one way and $13 for a round trip for seniors, children ages 6 to 12, and the disabled. A current promotion offers a round trip ticket for $10 for groups of three or more.


When Lopez and Enlow found out that the boat has undergone a complete overhaul, Enlow said, "I thought it looked very different. It even has a new car smell."


The bicycle-friendly boat seats 320 passengers, and can last 12 to 15 more years before it reaches its shelf life, Robbins said.


"Vallejo should be proud," Elles said. "This is a state-of-the-art machinery, and with the new parking lot and palm trees, the whole waterfront looks better."


For more information about the schedule, and other services, visit or call (877)64-FERRY.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Incat Crowther has announced the launch of 24m catamaran ferry Freedom Sovereign. Launched by Aluminium Marine in Queensland, Australia, Freedom Sovereign is a near sister ship to Fantasea Sunrise, launched last year.

Freedom Sovereign has been delivered to Freedom Fast Cats, who have had considerable success with Freedom Flyer (built 1980) and Freedom Monarch (built 2010), both designed by Incat Crowther. Freedom Sovereign is configured to carry 195 passengers over two decks. The main passenger cabin seats 121 passengers, arranged in booths with tables. There is a large bar and kiosk at the aft end of the cabin. Two toilets are located aft on the main deck, one of which is wheelchair accessible.

The upper deck consists of a lounge space, slightly smaller than that of Fantasea Sunrise, which seats 20 passengers. Two additional toilets are provided on this deck, and there are 54 exterior seats. Loading is facilitated by aft side gates and midship boarding doors on the main deck. Additionally, an hydraulically operated telescopic ramp mounted on the foredeck. This allows Freedom Fast Cats to operate the vessel to beaches without infrastructure.
Powered by a pair of Yanmar 6ATM-GTE engines, Freedom Sovereign recorded a loaded speed of 24 knots.

The vessel has a top speed over 27 knots. In addition to its regular service tanks, the vessel also features transfer tanks totaling 2100 litres, which are fitted to allow for transferring sullage in future operations. Incat Crowther believes Freedom Sovereign is a prime example of the long-term relationships Incat Crowther builds with its clients. In Freedom Sovereign, Freedom Fast Cats has gained a rugged, efficient and dependable vessel.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Windcat Workboats launched Windcat 28 this month. Windcat 28 is a vessel in the MK 3 series, an 18m aluminium catamaran specifically designed for the offshore wind industry which was built in Kuipers Woudsend ship yard in the Netherlands.

Windcat 28 is 18.0m in length over all and has a beam of 6.1m and a draft of 1.8m. She is powered by two MTU 2000 M72 V8 engines driving variable pitched propellers giving a maximum speed of 30 knots and service speed of 27 knots combining high performance with fuel economy.

Windcat 28 is built according to MCA SCV code category 2, GL class (GL + 100A5 HSDE III Workboat MC Overbar). She is the second Windcat to be GL classified and meets all the German flag state requirements, so able work in German and other northern European waters.

All the vessel’s navigation and radio equipment is Wheelmarked (MED certified). The vessel is equipped with double radar, ECDIS, AIS, GPS, auto pilot and a GPS compass and double VHF, Navtex etc. The vessel can carry up to 12 passengers and 2 crew and has the capacity to carry up to 2.5 tonnes of cargo on the foredeck.

Windcat 28 will be starting work immediately on the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm before departing for Oostende for the commissioning of Thornton Bank Phase II Offshore Wind Farm in Belgium next month.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Australia's Richardson Devine Marine has launched Outer Limit, a 35 m Incat Crowther catamaran work boat. It is the third vessel from Richardson Devine and Incat Crowther for operator Offshore Unlimited, following 2008's Unlimited and 2010's Limitless.

The vessel will be able to carry 125 t of deadweight, with capacity for up to 56 passengers on day operations and 32 berths for overnight operations. Drawing on operating experience with Unlimited and Limitless, Outer Limit features numerous work spaces, with desks in every cabin and an upper deck workspace with 14 seats. This workspace will be fitted with direct wireways to the aft deck to allow for quick installation and configuration of deck mounted equipment, whilst an adjacent bathroom improves functionality.

Two large cabins on the upper deck have half height glass bulkheads with blinds to allow interaction between the workstations and the helm.

The main deck cabin houses a wet room with lockers and bathroom, lounge, galley, mess, medical room and 6 cabins. A pair of these cabins will be able to be joined by retracting a dividing wall, creating a large 4 berth cabin.

The vessel's hulls house a further 6 cabins, 4 of which also feature a sliding joining partition. In addition to these cabins, the hulls house refrigerator and freezer rooms, as well as service and storage spaces which offer increased range and operational flexibility.

The aft working deck features over 160 sq.m of work space - enough to accommodate four 20 foot containers. A Heila HLM 35-4S deck crane is fitted with remote control. A moon pool is also fitted and there are mounts for a removable luffing A-Frame of 20 t capacity.

The vessel is powered by a pair of Caterpillar C32 ACERT main engines, each producing 1,600 hp. Propulsion is by a pair of five-bladed propellers.

In recent trials, Outer Limit achieved a loaded speed in excess of 22 knots. Service speed will be 20 knots and the range will be 1,800 nm. Maneuvering is enhanced by a pair of Wesmar bow thrusters.

Length Overall  35.00 m
Length Waterline  34.44 m
Beam Overall  11.5 m
Draft (skeg)  2.23 m
Depth  3.90 m
Construction Marine grade aluminum

Fuel (main tanks) 37,000 liters
Fresh Water  2,000 liters
Sullage 6,000 liters
Passengers (day) 56
Passengers (berthed) 32
Aft Deck Area 160 m2
Deadweight 125 t

Speed (Max) 22 knots
Speed (Service) 20 knots
Main Engines 2 x Caterpillar C32 ACERT
Power 2 x 1193 kW (1,600hp) @ 2,300 rpm
Propulsors 2 x Five-bladed propellers
Generators 2 x Caterpillar C9, 200 ekW

Flag Australia
Class / Survey NSCV 2A/1B


March 29, 2012

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Regular Alderney to Guernsey ferry link to begin in May

Mr Meinke said he was confident his catamaran would cope with most weather conditions

A regular ferry service is to be established between Alderney and Guernsey from 1 May.
Dan Meinke, the owner of new company Bumblebee, said he was expecting to take delivery of a 32ft motor catamaran which would take 12 passengers.

In addition to scheduled, one-hour crossings, he said he planned to offer charters and fishing and diving trips.

Manche Iles Express ran an occasional inter-island service in 2011, but has confirmed it will not do so in 2012.

Mr Meinke said he had high hopes for the new, custom-built vessel.

"She's very smooth riding and very stable, so she will cope with most weathers," he said.

Mr Meinke will skipper the boat himself but he said other local pilots had been lined up to keep the service running in case of illness.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

An associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has developed a machine to investigate the methane lakes on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

Tucson Explorer II, or TEX II, is a remote-controlled “lake lander” device that uses two hulls in a catamaran design to float across the surface of liquids. Mobility is controlled by two motors which spin two air propellers. Because of the machine’s twin-motor design, it has the ability to rotate on the liquid’s surface. TEX II has a 150-pound capacity in addition to the weight of the motors that it carries on its 6-foot by 5-foot platform.

Wolfgang Fink, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering, as well as the founder and director of the UA Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory, spearheaded the TEXII project. The device itself is just one component to a larger project called “tier-scalable reconnaissance,” that involves several types of vehicles exploring Titan, including land rovers — which the department has already developed — as well as blimps and lake landers. These vehicles, Fink said, will ideally be able to “think” for themselves.

“What we ultimately set out to do is to develop truly autonomous systems,” he said. “We want to instill in machines a natural sense of curiosity and the ability to make sense of the data … so that the machine comes up with its own plan of action and executes it.”

Scientists are interested in Titan because it is the closest in atmospheric composition to Earth, Fink said. With an atmosphere four times as thick as our own and temperatures much colder, methane forms as a liquid and creates lakes. TEX II will use sonar technology to analyze the lakes, and the information will be processed by aircraft, which will control the machines on the ground and in the lakes.

“As a scientist, you would like to be on a planet yourself, but, for many reasons that’s not always feasible,” Fink added. “Therefore, you need to have the next best thing: a robotic explorer which can do, to some extent, what you can do as a human.”

Funding for the TEX II project so far has come from within the department, but Fink said that he and his colleagues will begin to solicit federal funding now that an actual device has been developed. This funding would be used to pay for the components that will make the device autonomous, he added.

Fink’s tier-scalable reconnaissance project has already seen nationwide recognition, earning him a NASAboard award in 2009 before starting his work at the UA. The award was granted because of Fink’s idea to integrate land, aquatic, and aerial machines into space exploration — a concept that hadn’t been presented in past research. The work has also been published in Science magazine.

Alex Jacobs, an electrical and computer engineering graduate student, focused on the computer vision aspect of TEX II, furthering the machine’s autonomy by developing a system which will allow it to recognize interesting features in its environment that are worth exploring. Jacobs said he was glad to get positive recognition this early in his career.

“It’s exciting,” he added. “It’s wonderfully exciting to think that your work could actually be deployed in real life.”

Despite the project’s momentum, TEX II would be launched no earlier than 2016, Fink said, especially withNASA budget cuts that were proposed by President Barack Obama in February. If the project is deployed in 2016, it will arrive on Titan sometime in 2023.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Green Marine creates Green Composites division

29 March 2012

Green Composites, a newly-created division of Green Marine Ltd, will focus on large composites projects.

Green Marine’s 30 years of experience in all levels of composite technology and large composite manufacturing facility, with water access at its premises at the Hythe Marine Park near Southampton, UK, makes Green Composites ideally placed to provide turnkey solutions for large scale composite projects. The company employs over 120 skilled composite workers.

“Our new composites division is building on Green Marine’s reputation for composite excellence which was established by creating many of the worlds top carbon fibre sailing yachts, Grand Prix Racing Yachts, Carbon Fibre Superyachts, and composite lifeboats for the RNLI," says Marcel Muller, Managing Director of Green Composites.

"We are experienced in producing structural composite mouldings with over 400 m2 in size at very tight tolerances.”

Green Composites operates a ISO 9001 quality system and uses a wide range of composite materials and processing options, including wet laminating, resin infusion, prepregs and autoclave curing. The company is a specialist in the application of composites to new designs and in the application of prepreg and carbon on large industrial scale projects. Its technical team is experienced in applying robotic systems and automation to composite manufacturing.

Green Composites’ 6000 m2 facility includes four bespoke build ovens, each one measuring 38 m long, 11 m wide and 10 m high. There is an additional 1000 m2available for component production.


  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

BELLINGHAM - An Australian boatbuilding firm is poised to make a deal with the Port of Bellingham to lease a manufacturing site on the Fairhaven waterfront.

Shirley McFearin, the port's real estate development manager, said Aluminum Boats Australia hopes to set up shop in a 30,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Aluminum Chambered Boats before that firm ceased operations in November 2010. The firm would do business here as Aluminum Boats America Ltd.

A five-year lease agreement with the firm will be on port commissioners' agenda during their meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 3. The agreement gives the firm 30 days to study the final terms of the deal before they commit, but McFearin said she is confident that the firm will set up shop here.


Their monthly rent would be $10,780, with annual 3 percent increases and three five-year renewal options.

The company manufactures 80-to-100-foot catamaran-style boats used for tourism and passenger ferries, among other things. They expect to have a work force of 25 people that could be larger if things go well.

In the lease agreement, port officials agree to help to accommodate the firm with a different site with better boat-launching facilities if needed. One such site could be the marine trades center the port envisions in the sprawling warehouse building that once stored Georgia-Pacific Corp. pulp and tissue products.

The new firm also helps to strengthen Bellingham's position as a center of boatbuilding and servicing, McFearin said.

All American Marine already builds similar vessels on the south side waterfront, in a site next to Fairhaven Shipyard.

A deal with Aluminum Boats Australia has been in the works for about six months, McFearin said. Bringing the firm here has been a combined effort that involved the port, the city and Whatcom County, as well as Bellingham Technical College, the Bellingham-Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Washington Department of Commerce and the office of Gov. Christine Gregoire, as well as local legal and accounting firms that provided the Australians with expertise on doing business here.

Read more here:

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Transportation of goods and cargo to and from Kalangala has been eased following the commissioning of a second ferry to the Islands.

While passengers to and from Ssese Island will travel with ease this Easter season following the commissioning a new Ferry, Earthwise Ferries.

Earthwise (MV Amani) a new firm that has been plying the Port-Bell Mwanza route will start a new route to Kalangala from Port-Bell Luzira starting March 6th.

The ferry with a seating capacity of 150 passengers will have two routes daily, departing Port-Bell at 8am and docking at Kalangala at 12pm after a three hour journey.

MV Kalangala that has been plying the route departing at Nakiwoogo at 2pm has of late been overwhelmed by the number of passengers, leaving many stranded.

"We decided to come out to help especially during this Easter season following the number of passengers heading to the Island. We shall ply two routes every day. Departing Port bell at 8am and departing Kalangala at 2pm," said Tonny Ogullei Head of Marketing. At least 500 people travel to Kalangala for business and holiday each day.

Allan Emijeit the operations manager said Earthwise has a seating capacity of 25 passengers for first class and 125 economy.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

A keen eye for hull form design

06 Apr 2012

John Bonafoux of BMT Nigel Gee.

Whilst studying in Southampton, John Bonafoux of BMT Nigel Gee found himself in a roomful of people wanting to design racing yachts. So he looked to sharpen his talents elsewhere, finding a focus on high speed craft.

“Hull design is central to any new project”, he told MJ. Certainly, Mr Bonafoux has been involved in a couple of landmark designs that fit a very specific brief. For example, ultra-fine catamaran hull forms that have extremely low wash for environmentally sensitive areas.

“I have always looked on advanced hull form design as being key to our business”, he said. Having produced high performance hull designs for catamarans and SWATH’s, Mr Bonafoux explained that BMT Nigel Gee projects have included a new hybrid Semi-SWATH design, which combines a cat’s speed with a SWATH’s seakeeping. Furthermore, one project about to come off the slipway is the new XSS (Extreme Semi-Swathe) for wind farm operations, with the first vessel currently being built in the Netherlands.

Mr Bonafoux said, “This design has a very small water-plane area, reducing forces on the hull and providing improved seakeeping and ride comfort for passengers.” However, he added, offshore turbine crew transfer can still be an issue: “Existing transfer vessels push up on to the wind turbine foundation and the crew have to pick their moment and jump.”

With this thought in mind, a joint BMT Nigel Gee and Houlder project has resulted in an active hydraulic access ramp which automatically compensates for the pitch, roll and heave of the vessel. This opens up the window of operation to 2m significant wave height and, most importantly, improves the safety of transfer.

“In terms of exciting designs we had to design a high speed ferry that competes directly with air travel for an Argentinean project. It’s still the fastest passenger ferry,”

“We pushed the boat out, quite literally, on both the hydrodynamics and lightweight construction. We knew it had to be a first principle design as we couldn’t simply build it to class.”

The end result was a 45m, 300 passenger capacity ferry with four gas turbines powering two waterjets, giving a top speed in excess of 50 knots.

In a similar vein, the US Seafighter vessel was an 80m craft designed for 52 knots with 500 tons of deadweight. “It was the first vessel designed to the new US Naval Rules. It had to take two helipads so we developed specialised aluminium extrusion for the helideck structure to minimise weight. This was double skinned, and can survive the high helo dynamic load, although the plate is only 3mm thick, a tremendous project.”

However, says Mr Bonafoux, “The other thing that’s served us well is being able to do complete design from a blank page to detailed production, turnkey packages. Seeing something through means not just helping the yard gain a competitive advantage, but it also affects us. “We get insight from the guys on the shop floor during construction and see things right through to sea trials, it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of the job.”

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Ferry firm in talks over Forth launch

Published on $nicedate


TALKS are being held about launching a regular ferry route across the Forth.


Pentland Ferries, which operates between Caithness and Orkney, wants to run a passenger service between Granton and Burntisland.

Managing director Andrew Banks confirmed he was looking at operating two ferries for commuters and early-stage talks were taking place with Forth Ports.

He said: “Hopefully we might have something going by next year. It depends on getting the right infrastructure in place.”

A catamaran service for up to 250 passengers between Granton and Burntisland ran for two years before being scrapped in 1993.

Transport firm Stagecoach ran an experimental hovercraft service for a fortnight in summer 2007, which it hailed as a success, but plans for a regular 20-minute service were rejected by the city council last year.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Cruise ship giant Holland America announced Friday it will pull the Yukon Queen II out of the Yukon River for good.

The high-speed catamaran takes summer tourists on 164-kilometre river tours between Dawson City and Eagle, Alaska.

Holland America announced Friday it will pull the Yukon Queen II, a high-speed catamaran that takes summer tourists on 164-kilometre river tours between Dawson City and Eagle, Alaska, out of the Yukon River for good. (CBC)

"We're not really sure what we're going to do with her, but we will move her out of the river this summer," said Paul Goodwin, an executive vice-president at Holland America. "It's just been a number of issues that have made it difficult to continue to operate and given that, we've just come to the conclusion that we are better off finding another way to give our guests the river experience."

Goodwin said the Yukon Queen may be leaving Dawson City but Holland America will continue operating there. However, he said that with the departure of the boat, the company is now less invested in the town.

“Obviously the less assets we have up there, the less invested we are,” he said.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board has been reviewing the Yukon Queen II for the past two years.

The company has been slow to provide data on issues of concern on how the boat’s high-powered wake affects shoreline erosion and salmon habitat.

“Our rules set out that we need to receive that information within a certain amount of time,” said Stephen Mills, chair of YESAB.

Goodwin said the assessment process was one of the reasons for the decision to remove the boat.

“We don't necessarily see an end in sight because of course once we get through the YESAB process, assuming we got through the YESAB process, we then have to make application to DFO [the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans], so it's a long, drawn out, expensive process and the other side of it is we have the road in Eagle,” Goodwin said.

Holland America plans to hire a local boat — the Klondike Spirit — to help with its visitors this season

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

NEW LONDON -- To look at her, one might have serious doubts that the Park City ferryboat will see active service this year, much less be ready for Long Island Sound in time for Memorial Day weekend.

It's tied up to a busy shipyard that's just upriver from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, its car deck filled with structural steel, plastic buckets of paint and all manner of construction materials. A large chunk of the lower passenger deck is missing, and sparks fly from a shipwright's grinding wheel.

"Oh, it'll be ready in time for Memorial Day," said Fred Hall, vice president and general manager of the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamship Co. "I need it by Memorial Day."

The Park City is the oldest of the three ferries the company operates. Constructed in 1986 in Palatka, Fla., it's now at the Thames Shipyard and Repair Co. for what's described as a major $2 million refit.

The most important phase of the project is the installation of a second elevator, which is being welded in place near the stern to put the boat in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The refit began in mid-February, and ferry officials hope to have it back in service by mid-May. In the meantime, they're running a two-ferry schedule.


"When this boat was built in '86, we knew that we'd soon be having the ADA, and we knew that there would be an elevator requirement," said Hall. "So, we put in an elevator. But was it the correct configuration? No, because we didn't know what those specifications would be at the time."

He said that the old elevator will be used only for freight. Unlike the old one, the larger new elevator will access all three decks, including the sun deck up top.

The Park City is 290 feet long and can carry 290 cars and two or three larger trucks, as well as up to 1,000 passengers. She can manage about 16 knots, making the cross-sound trip to Port Jefferson in about an hour and seven minutes. Its sister ships are the Grand Republic and the P.T. Barnum, which were both built to be ADA compliant.

This is not the first Park City. The first one was built in 1898 and was steam powered.

"People liked it at the time because it burned clean coal," Hall said.

The refit also includes an all new passenger seating area and a new bar. New seats, flooring and ceiling were installed and the air-conditioning system was improved as well. There are new walk-in refrigerators, and the snack bar has a different set-up.

"This is a new business model for us," Hall said of the new food arrangements. "It's worked well in other boats."

The bar was also completely redecorated.

"This will be Long Island Sound's largest floating sports bar," Hall said, motioning to several flat-screen TV sets with a wave of his hand. "Satellite TV. No one will miss any baseball, any hockey, any basketball, any soccer ..."

The bathrooms were completely redone as well, and they are also in compliance with ADA regulations. And, although the passengers will never see them, there are new sewage-holding tanks.

The interior improvements are now nearly complete, but the elevator work will occupy welders, machinists and mechanics in the coming days and weeks.


The Thames Shipyard has been in business for more than a century. In the early days it mostly refitted wood-hulled sailing vessels and steamships, but now it only accepts steel-hulled boats such as ferries, tugs, barges and larger fishing vessels. The Coast Guard requires that ferries be inspected in dry dock every 30 months, mostly to keep track of the thickness of the hull. New panels are welded in place as needed, barnacles are power-washed off and the hull is repainted.

"It usually takes about two weeks," said Thames superintendent Kyle Shaugnessy of the time a ship spends in dry dock. "Once you reach a 25 percent decline in thickness, the plate has to be replaced. Outside, it might look fine, but you really have to inspect the hull from the inside. That's where the Coast Guard goes."

Today, testing of hull thickness is done by ultrasonic sensors, he said, although gauging thickness by tapping with a hammer remains a skill used by inspectors.

Thames has two large dry docks, which in three hours can lift a large ferryboat out of the water. The Park City didn't go into dry dock for this refit; it's not yet due for its next hull inspection.


At some point, the ferry company hopes to make the move from downtown to the East Side of Bridgeport.

"It's no secret that we have acquired about eight-and-a-half acres over there, and we're going down the long permit road to make that happen," Hall said. "There will be shorter travel time, less slow-speed travel in the harbor, easier access for our passengers and so forth."

As for the Park City, Hall recalls that he was there when it first launched in Florida.

"It entered the water sideways, creating a huge wave," he said. "I wish I had my camera because when the wave hit the other side of the channel -- don't forget this was Florida -- it made alligators fly. I'm not kidding. The alligators really did go airborne."

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

IT didn’t quite have the opulence of the launch of the Titanic, but there were still plenty of claps and cheers as a monster of a boat set sail from a Canvey boatyard.

The 60ft prototype catamaran – the first of its kind ever produced by the Canvey-based boat building firm Blyth – has been finished after two years of painstaking work.

The catamaran, worth £700,000, has been built especially to transport technicians and personnel to offshore windfarms along the British coastline.

Ray Chuter, 65, director of Blyth, based on the Charfleets Industrial Estate, drew the plans for the vessel by hand after coming up with the idea.

He said: “We are really proud of the boat.

“It’s the first prototype of its kind and is the first commercial windfarm catamaran we’ve ever built.

“It will be used by big energy companies to take their technicians and people out to the wind turbines along the coast. It could be used all the way up to Scotland.”

The catamaran is so big Ray had to apply for a police escort to transfer it down to Dauntless Boatyard, in Canvey Road, where it was launched.

But Ray, who has been in the boatbuilding business for 47 years and employs 30 people at his yard, said: “In the end they said we didn’t need the police with us as it was all safe, but it is usual to have an escort with a boat of this size.

“It’s the biggest catamaran we’ve ever done – we’ve had 10-metre and 12-metre boats but never a 17-metre like this.”

The boat measures exactly 57ft in length, and then another 3ft is taken up with a fender on the front of the vessel.

The catamaran, made of fibre glass, took Ray two years to get from the drawing board to the launch ramp.

The plug – the model base for the boat – had to be made in Dubai and was shipped all the way back to Canvey.

Ray, who is due to retire soon, says he has enjoyed his career.

He said: “The boatbuilding business has changed a lot obviously over the years – so much is done by computers now. It makes it easier in a way, but I like the old fashioned way.”

Ray added he doesn’t believe in the Titanic conspiracy theories floating about as the 100th anniversary of the disaster looms this weekend.

He said: “They’ve come up with all these ideas but at the end of the day the problem was they hit a bloody big iceberg.”

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

UK & Ireland. Clements Marine supply Safehaven Marine catamaran

Monday, 16 April 2012


Clements Marine has supplied all the stern gear and propellers to one of the latest launches to emerge from Safehaven Marine, the successful boat builder based in Ireland.

Orca III is the third of Safehaven built Wildcat 53/ 16m catamarans. The vessel has been built for a customer who is based on the Isles of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides, which provide some of the most challenging sea conditions for any vessel operating in these waters. Safehaven's Wildcat 53 has a high buoyancy bow, twin chine symmetrical hull catamaran form that has proved very successful providing exceptional levels of sea keeping and performance. The design is 16m moulded (17m LOA) with a 6.1m / 20ft beam.

The vessel will have multiple operational uses from long range offshore work going out in the North Atlantic as well as being windfarm support, hydrographic survey and long range passenger and dive support, and for each role she has been specifically adapted.

The conditions regularly mean facing waves of 6m and it is important for as well as standing up to the test in reliability and efficiency the propellers also have to provide comfort for passengers. For this purpose Clements Hyperform blades were used. These unique blade profiles allow for optimum speed and acceleration providing vibration free performance.

Clements Marine work closely with its customers and gain a good understanding of the day to day use of the vessel so that they can tailor the propellers and stern gear to the specific requirements. Having worked with Safehaven Marine for many years, Clements have built up knowledge of their boats and were very pleased when the sea trials were completed successfully with their equipment onboard.

Orca III is powered by twin Scania D16 700hp engines and Twin Disc MG 5135 quick shift gearboxes driving conventional stern gear: 762mm (30”) propellers on 88.9mm (3.5”) diameter shaft and large balanced stainless steel rudders.


  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

South Boats deliver windfarm support catamaran with leather, teak fittings, for VIP guest accommodation for operator Iceni Marine Services

South Boats Special Projects Ltd. announces the commissioning of its 54th offshore wind farm crew transfer vessel, ‘Iceni Pride’. The vessel is a South Catamaran 13m Rapid Response Vessel (RRV) built to fulfil a 5 year contract Iceni Marine Services has in place with Scottish & Southern Energy on their Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm project. This vessel is the fourth built for Iceni with a further three in build and on order.

Iceni Pride is outfitted to a very high standard with an abundance of teak and leather to take into account that one of the roles is VIP transportation. Six Beurteaux Ocean Club leather seats either side of the central companionway are fitted with a dedicated lifejacket stowage, table and document pouch.

The ‘Iceni Pride’ has an LOA of 14.2m, Beam of 5.3m, Draught of 0.8m and a lightship displacement of 14 tons.
 The 13m RRV was originally designed to cover a number of support roles through the construction and operation & maintenance phases and is amongst the most fuel efficient and flexible vessels available to the industry.

Powered by twin Caterpillar C9 ACERT 510mhp diesel engines coupled to Hamilton HJ364 water jet units the
 vessel achieved a sprint speed of 30 knots and is capable of cruising at speeds in excess of 25 knots with 12 passengers and full fuel in departure condition. The vessel is fitted with Hamilton’s Blue Arrow control system.

The vessel is fitted with satellite TV, DVD, wireless 3G internet and satellite communications. A modular kit bag storage area aft can quickly be turned into a survey station when the need arises. The helm is fitted across the front of the wheelhouse with an extensive array Furuno electronic navigation aids including, main radar, secondary radar, chart plotter, secondary chart plotter, recording CCTV system, class A AIS, satellite compass, navtex, gps and two DSC VHF radios. The bridge has heated forward screens to eliminate misting.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

A group of Portuguese surfers has been surfing waves with the helping hand of catamarans, in the River Tejo, in Lisbon, Portugal. On rush hour, the flat waters of Tejo get a very special 2-foot swell, in rather unusual conditions.

Catamarans linking both sides of River Tejo are creating waves that can be ridden by surfers, in certain days and hours, depending on the schedule of the big boat, the tide and moon phase.

"This is a dream we have. We do not live in front of a beach with waves, but surfing has become a reality at the doorstep. It's funny and it's something different, something that is not seen worldwide", says Ricardo Carrajola, a local surfer.

Riders between 25 and 26 year have been enjoying this unlikely surf spot, in a country full of world-class wave peaks. The surfing conditions in the River Tejo have improved in the last years, because the old transportation ferries have been replaced by modern full-throttle catamarans.

Actually, when catamarans pass by the group of surfers, they wave their hands asking the skipper to accelerate, in order to get bigger and better waves. Watch them riding artificial catamaran waves, here.

"We are dependent on several conditions: tides, wind, boat speed, if they're full or empty. It is not an easy thing to catch. Some days we cannot catch a wave at all," adds Carrajola.

Ricardo studied the entire variables and discovered the only six days in which you can surf good waves in the River Tejo. Also, waves only appear within a 10-minute interval, in fact, the time between two catamarans crossing Barreiro-Lisboa.

"In an ocean wave, you can you see it to forming, position yourself and understand what the wave is going to do. Here, it's different. The boat passes and you need local knowledge to understand what the wave will give you. Even so, we cannot always be in the right place, at the right time", says Nuno Prince, another local rider of the River Tejo wave.

Marcos Anastacio, a former Portuguese national champion, believes there's a special catamaran, with special artificial wave powers. "The 8:20 boat is very good. It's the 'Gil Vicente' and it produces a good swell".

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW


April 23, 2012

Austal has taken further steps in implementing its strategy to regionalise its operations to better serve and grow its international client base. Following the acquisition of its Philippines shipyard last year, the company has now broadened its sales and support organisations in the key Europe, Asia-Pacific and Middle East markets.

Austal Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bellamy said the strategy would provide better service and results for customers.

“Austal is a highly customer focussed and by developing our presence in key regions, we are able to spend more time with them,” he said “That increased level of client contact will enable us to understand their requirements even better than we have in the past.

“Ultimately that means we can deliver better results to them, whether that be in the ships we build, the systems we integrate or the in-service support we provide.” 

Expanded European presence

Simon Smith, who has been representing Austal for nearly 13 years, has been appointed to the role of Regional Manager for Europe. He and his team are based in a new office in the United Kingdom, which was formally opened by Andrew Bellamy today.

“Austal has had a great success in Europe over the years, particularly in the ferry market, and Simon has been central to those achievements,” Mr Bellamy said.

“Now there are new opportunities including sales and support of boats for the growing offshore wind farm market. That’s an area in which we are now highly competitive through the combination of superior technology and the manufacturing capability provided by the Philippines shipyard.

Mr Bellamy said the company’s European presence had also been expanded with the introduction of a specialist in defence business development.

Guy Johnston has been appointed Regional Sales Manager – Defence for Europe. Guy brings extensive experience from the defence and IT industries, including 18 years within the BAE Systems organisation where he held a number of senior sales and marketing positions.

“We are looking to expand sales to the European naval and paramilitary market,” Mr Bellamy commented. “We feel that is definitely achievable given our success in breaking into the US defence industry and Guy brings the right skills and experience to help us realise that aim.”

Austal staff at the opening of the new UK office. L to R: Guy Johnston, Julian Bray (Sales Manager), Andrew Bellamy, Mike Wake (Sales Representative), Matthew Walford (Business Development Manager - Service), James Bennett (Technical Manager - Commercial Vessels), Sam Abbott (Structural Design Manager), Simon Smith

Support growth anticipated

Mr Bellamy said Austal also planned to continue the growth of its European vessel support presence which began with the establishment of a Service Centre on the Strait of Gibraltar in May 2010.

“We are growing our footprint in the region meaning that the existing Service Centre in Spain will in the not too distant future be one of many we have in the region,” he said.

“Our goal is to emulate the success we have had in Spain here in the UK. We are also actively reviewing other European locations as enquiries continue to increase.”

Austal’s support business provides marine maintenance, repair and consultancy services to the commercial, defence and private markets.

Singapore office established

Austal has also established a new representative office for the Asia-Pacific region in Singapore.

“With its extensive shipping and maritime interests, and strategic location, Singapore is a natural choice from which to develop business and other ties to the region’s navies and commercial shipping operators,” Andrew Bellamy explained.

“That includes developing our existing support capabilities in response to the US Navy’s plans to rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific including the forward deployment of Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore.”

The office is headed up by Austal’s newly appointed Asia-Pacific Regional Manager, Colin Simpson. Based in the Asia Pacific Region for over 17 years, Mr Simpson has extensive experience and strong connections within the region’s marine, shipbuilding and oil and gas sectors.

New personnel in the Middle East

Austal’s capacity to service the needs of clients in the Middle East has also been expanded through the addition of experienced personnel to the company’s United Arab Emirates office.

Brett Reed has been joined by Cory Zachrisson, and they both work under the guidance of Michael McCourt, who recently took up the position of Vice President – Middle East.

Mr McCourt has previously held senior managerial roles in shipbuilding in South East Asia as well as in procurement and vessel support at Austal’s Head Office in Western Australia.

“During that time Michael was instrumental in establishing the company’s Regional Service Centres in northern Australia, Oman and Trinidad and Tobago,” Mr Bellamy said. “That experience makes him well suited to managing an effective regional office.”

Like Brett, Michael formerly served in the Royal Australian Navy meaning they bring valuable specialist engineering and operational knowledge to discussions with the region’s naval and paramilitary forces.

Both Cory and Brett transferred to the Middle East after each developing strong industry and company knowledge by spending a number of years in sales, project management and ship construction roles in Austal’s Australian operations.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

08:37 GMT, April 25, 2012 DGA took delivery of the third Engin de Débarquement Amphibie Rapide (EDA-R n°3) catamaran landing craft on April 20, 2012. 

Handed over to the French Navy’s Amphibious Flotilla at Toulon, this innovative landing craft is 30 meters long, 12 meters wide and has a useful load of 80 metric tonnes. It can reach speeds of 18 knots at full load and 30 knots when empty. 

Based on a unique concept (L-CAT - Landing Catamaran) patented by CNIM, EDA-R is a fast catamaran in transit mode, but turns into a flat-bottomed ship to beach or enter an amphibious ship’s well deck thanks to a central elevating deck. Each of the new Mistral-class building BPC amphibious ships can carry two EDA-R in its well deck. 

The second EDA craft (EDA-R 2), which was accepted by DGA on January 24, 2012, sailed with the BPC Dixmude, which is currently conducting the annual “Jeanne d'Arc” midshipman training cruise until July.

Accepted on November 24, 2011, the first EDA-R (L9091) took part, together with the BPC Mistral, in the exercise Bold Alligator held in January and February 2012 on the east coast of the United States. Bringing together amphibious forces of the United States, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands, it was one of the largest amphibious maneuvers held in the last 10 years. During this major exercise, the EDA-R demonstrated its interoperability with US Navy ships of the USS Wasp and USS San Antonio classes.

The fourth EDA-R will be handed over during the second half of 2012. 

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