The hull of the first ship was loaded onto the heavy lift vessel, the Blue Marlin, on 4 August and left Spain on 17 August.
Director of Maritime for BAE Systems Australia, Bill Saltzer, said the hull, which was constructed by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, would take approximately 40 to 50 days to reach Australia where work would start on the consolidation of the superstructure at the BAE Systems shipyard in Williamstown, Melbourne.
“In the last few months, works have proceeded at a rapid pace as we prepare for the arrival of the first hull and the team here in Australia take over construction of the ship,” he said.
“Construction and consolidation of the four sections of the superstructure is continuing in the Williamstown yard and this includes the mast modules fabricated at the BAE Systems yard at Henderson in Western Australia.
“Preparation works have also included a multi-million upgrade to Nelson Pier where the ship will be docked. These works have involved the construction of a 12.8 metre diameter cement mooring dolphin situated 35 metres north of Nelson Pier.”
Mr Saltzer said the mooring dolphin was required as the ship was so large that it would extend beyond the pier and the structure was required to secure the ship.
Three hundred and thirty five trucks delivered around 4840 tonnes of concrete for the massive concrete pour and, in addition to the concrete, approximately 40 tonnes of reinforcement steel was also used in the structure.
“Two 20.8 metre high towers to provide access for production staff from Nelson Pier to the LHD vessel are now in place. Additional access points will be installed post the ship arrival.
“This is an exciting time for BAE Systems as the prime contractor for this project. We are about to start the next phase of its construction which will take it through to completion on Australian soil.
“There have been tremendous efforts of Maritime staff across two countries, Spain and Australia, and two companies, BAE Systems and Navantia, as well as across two Australian States, Victoria and Western Australia. There has also been a lot of preparation works by our key subcontractors in Saab for the combat system and L3 for the communications system.
“We are looking forward with anticipation and excitement to seeing this amazing vessel alongside Nelson Pier in Williamstown,” he said.
For more information, please contact:
Kaye Noske, BAE Systems Australia
Tel: +61 (0) 401 121 444