Damen Shipyards Group has sent a high level delegation to meet with key members of the Australian shipbuilding industry as part of its tender for the design and construction of 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Royal Australian Navy.
Damen, as one of the three designers competing for the OPV program, is fully committed to consolidating their commitment to Australia. Approaching the delivery of their 100th vessel to the Australian market, Damen has built more than 6,000 vessels, with close to 1,000 of these constructed with partner shipbuilders from all over the globe. Damen, who will be the prime contractor with responsibility for the delivery of the 12 ships has teamed with ASC Forgacs Shipbuilding, a joint venture established to build two ships in South Australia and 10 in Western Australia.
The Damen team comprises Damen CEO René Berkvens, Area Director Asia Pacific Roland Briene and Director Procurement Jacob Biemond. They have been joined by a number of Dutch companies and their Australian partners as they seek to secure the highest levels of Australian content for the new OPVs.
The team has been meeting with business representatives from all around the country including those from the Henderson Alliance, members of the W.A. Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry & Defence Network (AIDN), Defence Teaming Cooperation and many other small and medium sized enterprises.
The Australian government's SEA 1180 Phase 1 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) program will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the nation's 13 Armidale Class Patrol Boats, by acquiring 12 new vessels. A tendering process for the A$3 billion ($2.3 billion) program commenced in late 2015 and will conclude with Government approval in the third quarter of 2017.
“The SEA 1180 Program has the potential to establish the framework for long-term naval and commercial shipbuilding capacity in Australia. An enthusiastic and effective supply chain is the best way ahead to reduce the risks involved – in terms of both construction schedule and technical coverage,” said Biemond.
A joint venture has already been formed between Damen's electrical contractor Alewijnse and their Australian partner AMS, with AMS already lined up to work on the sustainment of the Damen fleet in Australia.
The visit by the Damen delegation follows industry briefings that the company conducted in February and March in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Aimed at making contact with local suppliers to develop a sustainable Australian supply chain, the briefings were attended by approximately 800 people.
Australia is embarking on a $89 billion ($68 billion) naval ship and submarine building program.