Austal has announced that it has secured an order for three Coast Guard vessels from the Government of Kuwait, Ministry of Interior. The trio of 22 metre aluminium monohulls will be built by Austal subsidiary, Image Marine and are due for delivery by early 2004. Austal Managing Director, Mr Bob McKinnon, said the contract was won against stiff international competition as part of a global tender process, and demonstrated the company’s ability to penetrate new markets. “Securing this contract with the Kuwait Coast Guard, together with our short-listing for the Royal Australian Navy patrol boat project, shows that there is considerable potential for Austal in this market,” he said. Austal, together with its partner Defence Maritime Services, submitted its final proposal for the RAN patrol boat project in November 2002. Austal and DMS are one of three bidders remaining in the tender process, and contract award is expected to be made by mid 2003. Austal’s patrol boat experience also includes the design and construction of eight 38 metre Bay Class vessels delivered to the Australian Customs Service in 1999, both under budget and ahead of schedule. Image Marine delivered seven 16 metre and two 22 metre patrol boats to the New South Wales Police in 2000, and the success of these vessels was an important part of the bid for the Kuwait contract. Based on the larger NSW Police boats, the Kuwait Coast Guard vessels will operate with three crew and will be capable of carrying up to 41 additional personnel at 25 knots. Propulsion is provided by twin MAN diesels each developing 735kW and driving propellers via ZF gearboxes. The vessels will be capable of all weather operation in the Arabian Gulf in sea conditions up to Beaufort 6, and have been designed taking into account the extreme climatic conditions encountered in the area.