La Défense discreetly acquires Pacific Support Vessel

Defense has spent $93 million to acquire a second-hand 5,204-tonne offshore supply vessel currently moored in the Canary Islands instead of the “large-hulled” warship which, according to the Minister of Defense of the time, Christopher Pyne, in 2018, would be built in the West. Australia.

While Senate Estimates were told in October 2021 that plans for local construction had been scrapped in favor of an overseas purchase, details of the February acquisition were leaked in Estimates for the first time. of the Senate on April 6. As of April 20, there had been no statement from the Defence.

According to Sheryl Lutz, First Assistant Ships at CASG, confidentiality issues surrounding the supply meant that the former operators, the Canadian company Horizon Maritime, did not tell the crew where they would be going next until the end. of a maintenance availability activity.

Navy Chief Vice Admiral Mike Noonan told estimates that the five-year-old Norwegian ship, formerly known as star horizonhad been renamed Australian Defense Vessel (ADV) Dependent and would normally be based in Brisbane due to its proximity to the Pacific area of ​​operations which it would support. Maintenance would be undertaken as required in and around Brisbane, Cairns and Darwin depending on the tasks.

ADV Dependent is 103 meters long and can accommodate 60 people. Her aft deck offers 1060 square meters of cargo space and includes a 150 ton offshore crane and center basin, emergency towing winch and firefighting capability. A helipad is installed at the front of the bridge.

Unlike the two Canberra-class helicopter landing docks and the HMAS landing dock Choules normally used for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR), ADV missions Dependent should operate semi-permanently in the South West Pacific.

This will allow the ship to support resilience building before a disaster strikes, while remaining on station during and after the event to provide a first response capability.

Brent Clark, CEO of the Australian Industry and Defense Network (AIDN) described the offshore acquisition as “incredibly disappointing”.

“If Defense or Government could have gone straight to a contract and seen how they would source supplies from Australia, we would probably be very close to having this ship in the water today,” he commented.

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