Australian Boats on Patrol in the Gulf

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Austal has designed, constructed and delivered three 22 metre patrol boats to the Kuwait Coast Guard (KCG). In addition to three crew “Kassir”, “Dastoor” and “Mahroos” can each carry 41 people and will be used primarily for the transport of KCG crew and personnel to outlying islands at speeds of approximately 25 knots. The vessels were launched three months ahead of schedule and met all performance criteria on sea trials in Australian waters prior to being shipped to the Gulf region. They arrived on schedule in March this year and their entry into service was quickly expedited after they successfully completed acceptance sea trials off the Kuwait coast. The contract was awarded in January last year after a highly competitive international tender process. Austal’s proposal was based on an aluminium monohull similar to those provided to the police force in the Australian state of New South Wales in 2000. The success of those two 22 metre police boats, and seven 16 metre vessels delivered as part of the same contract, was vital in securing the KCG contract. “The personnel from Kuwait who inspected the New South Wales boats prior to contract were clearly impressed by their quality and the excellent seagoing capabilities they demonstrated,” Austal Sales Manager Mr Lou Pittorino explained. In addition to the vessels’ strong performance and the low maintenance requirements of their aluminium structure, Austal’s ability to design and construct customised vessels within the budgetary parameters set out by the Kuwait Ministry of Interior was also instrumental in securing the order. Mr Pittorino was in Kuwait for the handover and said the vessels complimented the modern KCG shore facilities. “The boats exceeded expectations in speed and the level of outfit, and the crew were very impressed with their easy handling and the straightforward layout of bridge and engine operations,” he said. The interior fitout matches all the specifications for this application, combining practicality with comfort and safety. Aircraft style seating for personnel in transit is located forward on the lower deck where there is also ample storage space for their effects in overhead lockers and a forward store. The wheelhouse sits atop the raised forecastle deck and contains a spacious bridge ahead of an amenities area. In addition to the port side galley with food store, fridge, freezer and cook top this includes a head and general storage compartment. The bridge has the standard arrangement for three person operations and features forward raked windows to maximise volume while minimising heat and glare from the sun. During the design stage Austal had to take into account the severe climactic conditions of the Arabian Gulf. It was a contractual obligation that the vessels were capable of all weather operation in sea conditions up to Beaufort 6. Austal was successful in making the vessels highly effective and versatile in these conditions, whilst also incorporating reliability, low-maintenance and a straightforward approach to operations. The vessels are powered by two MTU diesel engines producing a total of 1470kW, driving two fixed pitch propellers. This generates a maximum speed of 25 knots, with a range of up to 325 nautical miles with a 10% fuel reserve. Austal’s Sales and Product Development Manager, Mr Glenn Williams, says the success of the patrol boats is an important step for the Australian shipbuilder. “Although Austal has a long history of exporting fast ferries and other passenger vessels, this was the company’s first international contract for patrol boats,” he said. “That meant it was extremely important the Kuwait Coast Guard was satisfied with all aspects of the contract and the vessels themselves. Austal is proud that the vessels have exceeded all the client’s expectations and that the project was completed on time and on budget. As a result, we have another satisfied customer and a valuable reference in the international small patrol boat market,” he added. With increased emphasis on port and homeland security issues worldwide, exemplified by new requirements such as the International Ship and Port facility Security (ISPS) Code which comes into force on 1 July, it is evident that authorities all over the world will be scrutinizing current security guidelines and procedures. Glenn Williams says Austal is able to provide patrol vessels to address a broad cross-section of needs for heightened security and surveillance in ports and coastal waters. “Taken in concert with our other defence activities, the successful design, construction and delivery of these vessels, as well as the satisfaction of the KCG, underlines that Austal is ideally suited to provide any law enforcement/military vessel – from a 15 metre harbour patrol boat to a 100 metre plus combat ship platform,” he said.
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