Austal lays keel for first Pacific Patrol Boat

Australian shipbuilder Austal on Monday held a keel-laying ceremony for the first vessel of the Australian government’s Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project.

Defense industry minister Christopher Pyne authenticated the keel by committing his signature to a plate that was subsequently welded and placed in the hull of the vessel.

Austal chief executive officer David Singleton said the ceremonial keel laying was a significant milestone in the A$306 million PPB-R Project, which is the first major element of the Australian government’s $89 billion Naval Shipbuilding Plan.

“Austal is delivering on every aspect of the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement project; from the design and build here in Henderson, to the sustainment of the vessels in Cairns,” Singleton said.

“This project is anticipated to employ more than 200 people directly at Austal and hundreds more through our growing Australian supply chain, providing outstanding career opportunities for both qualified workers and apprentices across the country.”

The first vessel, one of four to be delivered to Papua New Guinea, is due for completion in the last quarter of 2018.

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