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Austal closes in on Cape-class export deal

30 July 2018
Australian shipbuilder Austal is close to securing a contract from Trinidad and Tobago to supply two Cape-class patrol boats. The class is also in operation with the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Border Force (pictured). Source: Austal Limited

Australian shipbuilder Austal is close to signing a contract with Trinidad and Tobago to build and supply two 58 m Cape-class patrol boats, the company announced on 30 July.

The patrol boats will be operated by the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, which in 2008 also ordered six 30 m fast patrol craft from Austal for about USD60 million.

Austal said in a statement that the new contract is likely to be valued at about AUD100 million (USD74 million) with funds provided by the Australian government through its Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC).

This finance package will be “developed specifically to support the programme”, Austal said, adding that the EFIC has already supplied Trinidad and Tobago with a “letter of support” to facilitate the deal.

The contract will also be accompanied by a multiyear maintenance package, according to Austal. The company added that it expects to set up a service centre in Trinidad to support the new patrol boats, as well as fast patrol craft that it previously exported to the Caribbean country and any additional vessels requiring maintenance.

Austal said its announcement follows its submission of a proposal to Trinidad and Tobago in recent weeks. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN), which operates two Cape-class patrol boats, also recently demonstrated the capabilities of the type to a visiting delegation of senior officials from Trinidad and Tobago. The Australian Border Force also operates eight vessels in the class.

Austal said the new vessels will be built at its Henderson shipyard in Western Australia, with deliveries to Trinidad and Tobago from mid-2020. It added that the sale is conditional on final contracts being signed in the coming weeks, together with a conclusive offer from the EFIC to Trinidad and Tobago.

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