Austal has established itself as a major provider of worldwide vessel maintenance and management, securing more than 1000 service-related jobs in 16 different countries over the past year.
Many of these contracts involve non-Austal vessels and range from refitting steel offshore support vessels to planned vessel maintenance of high speed aluminium patrol boats.
Earlier this year the company announced a vessel maintenance services contract with Oman’s National Ferries Company (NFC) for the maintenance of seven large high speed craft, including two Oman Coast Guard rescue boats. Notably, five of these vessels were built at other shipyards.
Austal Service General Manager Chris Pemberton said the company was no longer being viewed as just a ship builder.
“I think operators now recognise how our experience in designing and building more than 200 vessels over two decades translates to a more effective and efficient service offering,” Mr Pemberton said.
“This experience allows us to understand the value of vessel operability across all sectors, from commercial ferry operations to patrol boat fleets to luxury private yachts.”
“For commercial operators this means more revenue-earning voyages per annum, for naval operators it’s more patrol days per year and for yacht owners it ensures their vessels are available when they want them.”
Mr Pemberton said Austal Service’s product offering included contract maintenance, general refit and repair, spare parts, consultancy, ship management support services, and crew familiarisation training.
Austal’s efficient global supply chain enables Austal to source quality parts, particularly specialist parts, with quick delivery and at reasonable cost.
The past year has seen Austal undertake service-related work all over the world, including Indonesia, Norway, Venezuela, Malaysia, Maldives, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and USA.
Austal recently completed the annual docking of 69 metre high speed catamaran vehicle ferries “Jazan” and “Farasan”, owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Performed by Austal personnel at Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Shipyard, the docking included vessel modifications and preventative maintenance.
Austal continues to build a permanent service presence in the Middle East having established hubs in the Red Sea (Egypt) and in Oman, with a regional office in the UAE to open in coming months.
Demonstrating Austal’s general refit and repair capabilities was the recently completed refit work on 82 metre, 3,226 tonne deadweight steel diving support vessel “Nor Australis”, built by Nor Offshore in Singapore. The project involved sending a team of Austal engineers, naval architects and engineers to Karratha in Australia’s North West. Their work successfully reduced noise and vibration onboard the vessel, resulting in improved working conditions for the crew.
Mr Pemberton noted that this reflected Austal’s capability to effectively service a wide range of vessels.
“Austal is known as a designer and builder of high speed aluminium vessels but jobs such as this demonstrate how owners of other vessel types can benefit from our expertise. This is because our capabilities include naval architecture, mechanical, electrical and HVAC systems, not just fabrication.”
In June this year, Austal will have completed its ninth year of a contract to provide Ship Management Support Services to 101 metre high speed theatre support vessel “WestPac Express” operated by the US Marines and based in Okinawa, Japan. During this time the vessel has maintained a technical reliability of 99.7 per cent.
Mr Pemberton said Austal offered dedicated personnel with ship management experience who can compliment and support the Ship Management Support Services it offered.
“We can assist with set up, auditing, accreditation and ongoing support of management services including International Safety Management (ISM) and International Ship and Port Security Systems (ISPS) as well as Computerised Maintenance Management Systems and vessel delivery and repositioning.”
Meanwhile in Trinidad and Tobago, Austal Service has commenced its five year comprehensive maintenance and support services program for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard’s six new 30m fast patrol craft. The program includes scheduled planned and preventative maintenance support, unscheduled maintenance, management and performance of annual surveys and maintenance periods as well as shore-based engineering support.