Keel laying of NUSHIP Pilbara - a construction milestone

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Harriet Pointon Mather (author), LSIS Ronnie Baltoft (photographer)

Location(s): Henderson, WA

Topic(s): Keel Laying, Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), HMAS Pilbara

L-R: Executive Officer HMAS Stirling Commander Guy Lewis, RAN; Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Ainsley Morthorpe, CSM, RAN; Mr Owen Vincent; and Navy Indigenous Advisor, Lieutenant Commander Samuel Sheppard attend the keel laying ceremony for Offshore Patrol Vessel number 3, NUSHIP Pilbara, at the Civmec facility in Henderson, Western Australia. (photo: LSIS Ronnie Batoft)
L-R: Executive Officer HMAS Stirling Commander Guy Lewis, RAN; Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Ainsley Morthorpe, CSM, RAN; Mr Owen Vincent; and Navy Indigenous Advisor, Lieutenant Commander Samuel Sheppard attend the keel laying ceremony for Offshore Patrol Vessel number 3, NUSHIP Pilbara, at the Civmec facility in Henderson, Western Australia.

The National Shipbuilding Program reached another milestone recently with the keel laying for the third Offshore Patrol Vessel, NUSHIP Pilbara, taking place at Henderson, Western Australia.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the keel laying was an important naval tradition that initiated the formal construction of the vessel and brought good luck to the build and the life of the vessel by placing a coin under the keel.

“This milestone marks the start of the consolidation phase for the third Arafura Class ship to be built in Australia,” Minister Reynolds said.

Pilbara will be the first of ten Offshore Patrol Vessels to be built by the Luerssen and Civmec teams in Western Australia, with the first two vessels completed at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, said Navy was proud to celebrate this significant moment with industry partners, Luerssen Australia and Civmec.

“Significant milestones like this are testament to the strength and resilience of Australia’s national shipbuilding industry, and solidify our transformational partnership with Defence Industry,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

“Upon commissioning the vessel will be known as HMAS Pilbara, which honours the role of the Western Australian shipbuilding industry in supporting the Navy.”

Minister Reynolds noted the key role Western Australia played in the development of Australia’s naval shipbuilding enterprise with around 400 jobs created locally by the Offshore Patrol Vessel project and more than 60 per cent local industry content.

“Made with Australian steel, cut locally in Western Australia, the Offshore Patrol Vessels will offer greater endurance to undertake maritime patrol and response duties, as well as support specialist missions,” Minister Reynolds said.

When completed the vessel will weigh approximately 1600 tonne and have a length of 80 metres.

Undertaking maritime border patrol and constabulary roles, along with humanitarian and disaster relief, the Offshore Patrol Vessel will operate alongside Australian Border Force Vessels, Australian Defence Force units and regional partners.

Imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20202920.

L-R: Chief Financial Officer Mr Darren McGill representing Luerssen Australia; Civmec apprentice Jake Mitchell; Civmec apprentice Hayley Maisey; Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP; Head of Maritime Systems, Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm CSM, RAN; Executive Chairman Civmec, Mr James Fitzgerald; and Chief Executive Officer Civmec, Mr Patrick Tallon stand with Offshore Patrol Vessel number 3, NUSHIP Pilbara, on completion of the keel laying ceremony held at the Civmec facility in Henderson, Western Australia.

L-R: Chief Financial Officer Mr Darren McGill representing Luerssen Australia; Civmec apprentice Jake Mitchell; Civmec apprentice Hayley Maisey; Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP; Head of Maritime Systems, Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm CSM, RAN; Executive Chairman Civmec, Mr James Fitzgerald; and Chief Executive Officer Civmec, Mr Patrick Tallon stand with Offshore Patrol Vessel number 3, NUSHIP Pilbara, on completion of the keel laying ceremony held at the Civmec facility in Henderson, Western Australia.