The first of two Austal-built Cape Class Patrol Boats has officially joined the Royal Australian Navy fleet.
Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Fourcroy, was handed over to Navy by Austal and the Australian White Ensign was hoisted for the first time.
Commanding Officer Cape Fourcroy Commander Mark Taylor ordered the crew to ‘cheer ship’ after a naming ceremony was held for the boat alongside Fleet Base West on 1 May.
Chaplain Grant Ludlow provided the nautical blessing before Commander Taylor reflected on the past 16 months’ experience – from builder’s yard to sea trials.
“I have had the pleasure of being here for every sea trial that Cape Fourcroy has undertaken – she’s a good ship,” Commander Taylor said.
“She shares some similarities with her Armidale cousins but with a few improvements and specialised features that make them a good ship for the border protection role.
“Cape Fourcroy incorporates all that is good in her sisters, along with a few Navy-specific improvements.
“Of the nine ships I have commanded, this one has been the most rewarding of all, because of them.
“What makes this particular experience so unique is that here we are, a mission-ready crew, taking a brand new ship out on patrol within literally days of being accepted into service.
“Cape Fourcroy and her future sister, Cape Inscription, will be integral elements of the patrol boat force for the next few years and it’s with great pride that we join that force,” he said.
The boat will be operated under full command of the Commander Australian Fleet and manned by two crews, ‘Port’ and ‘Starboard’, with one crew embarked and one disembarked at any given time contributing to the nation's border protection operations.
Newly married and ‘Port debutante’ Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Chef Tessa Perri cooked her first meal for the crew onboard Cape Fourcroy and was excited about sailing with her new shipmates.
“Although I have spent two months in Armidale boat, HMAS Maryborough, this is my first deployment in the Cape class and I am really excited to be doing something different,” Able Seaman Perri said.
“Everyone has been so welcoming and I can’t wait to get into my routine cooking for the crew.”
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, said the boats will supplement Navy’s existing Armidale Class Patrol Boats as the current fleet undergoes deep maintenance.
“For the last two years, Defence has been operating up to two Cape class boats on loan from Australian Border Force to allow Navy to continue to meet its operational commitments,” Minister Pyne said.
“The last loan vessel will shortly be returned to Australian Border Force and be replaced by two new Cape class boats which Defence will lease until 2020.”
The ship’s name originates from the cape located at the western tip of Bathurst Island, Northern Territory, Australia.
Cape Fourcroy will undertake integration training and sea assurance trials before being deployed to support border protection operations.
The second of the two vessels, Cape Inscription, will be received by Defence later this month.