THERE were two major milestones for shipbuilding in Cockburn this morning.
Diggers are now in action at Civmec as the company’s subsidiary Forgacs Marine and Defence begins construction on an $80 million shipbuilding facility, while the first steel for the replacement of 19 Pacific Patrol Boats has been cut in Bibra Lake.
Forgacs’ 18-storey high facility, which the company said would be Australia’s largest undercover shipbuilding space, will be used to construct, repair and maintain water vessels.
Construction will involve 120 truckloads of earth removal each day for about six months from its 7ha site on Nautical Drive.
Civmec executive chairman James Fitzgerald said the new facility, when complete, would place the company among candidates for work on the Federal Government’s $89 billion submarine and shipbuilding spend.
“This is cause for great optimism and reflects highly on Western Australia’s industrial capability and capacity, to which this facility will be a significant addition,” he said.
“The facility will allow us to increase our Henderson workforce by an extra 1000 people, including at least 100 apprentices.”
Forgacs managing director Mike Deeks said the build would be large enough to house Air Warfare Destroyers or Frigates as well as Offshore Patrol Vessels.
“The building has a gross floor area of 53,470sq m,” he said.
“This facility will be a huge addition to the Australian Marine Complex and is designed to be the most efficient in the world.”
Across town, the first steel was cut ready for use on replacement Pacific Patrol Boats, to be built by Austal in Henderson.
Bibra Lake’s HD Plasma and Laser Cutting Services held a “cutting of steel” ceremony to mark the occasion, which was attended by Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.
“Today marks the start of the Turnbull Government’s $89 billion shipbuilding program and WA has a vital role in this great national endeavour,” he said.
“HD Plasma and Laser Cutting Services has been contracted by Austal for the supply, transport, storage and cutting of Australian manufactured steel plate.
“This is a fantastic example of what we are trying to achieve and highlights the benefits of building ships in Australia because the supply chain wins work and jobs are created.
“Austal says around 325 companies are in the PPB supply chain nationwide.
“Austal expects the $306 million project will create up to 207 direct jobs and employ around 300 more in the supply chain.”
Once finished, the vessels will be given to 12 Pacific Island countries as part of Australia’s new Pacific Maritime Security Program.
The first vessel should be delivered in late 2018.