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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

FAST PATROL CRAFT

May 19, 2009

Austal launches fast patrol craft

Austal's Western Australian shipyard has successfully launched the first of six 30 m aluminum fast patrol craft for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard.

Construction of the vessels, which were ordered in April 2008, is ahead of schedule, with delivery expected in early 2010.

Each vessel has a maximum speed of 40 knots, a range of 1,000 nautical miles and will be armed with general purpose machine guns and a 20 mm cannon.

Austal Business Development Manager--Defense, Jamie Robinson, says the speed with which the vessels are being built shows Austal’s ability to deliver quality, multi-vessel orders in short periods.

“Modern maritime security is increasingly typified by rapidly changing threats, so the speed at which suitable solutions can be delivered is an important consideration for many navies and coast guards,” he said. “These vessels add to Austal’s extensive track record in delivering small to medium size aluminum defense platforms on time and on budget, each designed to meet specific customer requirements.”

Once delivered, the vessels will support the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard in providing sustained surveillance in the country’s internal waters, the archipelagic territorial sea and its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Following delivery, Austal will provide a five year comprehensive maintenance and support services program, which will include scheduled planned and preventative maintenance support, unscheduled maintenance, management and performance of annual surveys and maintenance periods as well as shore-based engineering support.

Also under construction at Austal’s Australian facilities are four 21.2 m patrol craft for the Armed Forces of Malta, as well as three 22 m catamaran police boats for the Queensland Police Service.

Sea trials of the first 30 m fast patrol craft for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard are set for early next month.


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