Australian shipbuilder Austal Philippines said it has completed a huge assembly bay to expand its shipbuilding facilities at the West Cebu Industrial Park in Balamban town and is ready to build large vessels.
The new John Rothwell Assembly Bay - which measures 120 meters long, 43 meters wide and 41 meters tall - was inaugurated on July 24, 2019.
It currently houses the construction of Hull 419, a 109-meter high speed catamaran for Fjord Line of Norway. Austal said this is the largest vessel, by volume, that it has ever built in 30 years.
The company has also proposed to build six offshore patrol vessels (OPV) for the Philippine Navy. The proposed vessels are larger than the Cape-class patrol vessels used by the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force.
In a statement, Austal Philippines president Wayne Murray said the company has a license to build naval vessels.
The new assembly bay would allow them to immediately build and maintain naval vessels for the Philippines as well as for export.
“Our Balamban Shipyard is a showpiece. Here we bring together Austal’s most advanced maritime technologies and the outstanding capabilities of our Filipino colleagues. The opening of the new JR Assembly Bay allows us to further strengthen the order book of the Austal Philippines shipyard, ushering in more projects and employment to the local workforce,” Murray said in the statement.
The company spent a total of US$20 million, roughly P1 billion, for its expansion, which includes the reclamation of two hectares of waterfront land and the development of new hardstand and mooring facilities.
The Balamban shipyard employs over 900 Filipino engineers, design staff, skilled laborers, and production tradespersons.
With the expansion, the company said it expects to hire more.
Austal chief executive officer David Singleton said “the expansion is part of our ongoing strategy to regionalize the manufacturing base for commercial vessels, and the Cebu shipyard has delivered 17 ships to 10 operators in 9 countries globally” since 2011.
“It adds great value to both local communities and the greater Philippine economy by generating local employment and supply chain opportunities,” he added. (Ventures Cebu)