Home' Ausmarine : November 2009 Contents Australian Marine Complex (AMC)
Twenty-three kilometres south of Perth, the Australian
Marine Complex (AMC) is the Western Australian centre
for manufacturing, fabrication, assembly, maintenance
and technology development, servicing the marine, defence, oil
and gas, and resource industries. By clustering like industries,
AMC aimed to increase efficiencies, make the best use of
communal facilities, and reserve precious near-water land for
AMC has set aside land in four precincts for Shipbuilding,
Technology, Support and Fabrication. Additionally it manages a
waterfront Common User Facility (CUF), established in 2003.
Adjoining the 80 hectare fabricator's area, the CUF is managed
by AMC Management but the user provides all labour and project
management. With 40 hectares of laydown and construction land
there is room for several major projects to take place at the same
time. The facilities include a dredged deepwater harbour, three
wharves -- the newest a dedicated maintenance wharf -- a
fabrication hall, a project office, amenities and warehouse. New
additions include a floating dry dock with a 12,000-tonne lifting
capacity, and a self-propelled transporter capable of transferring
vessels and modules of up to 3,500 tonnes. These significant
investments were made possible by a further $174 million
injection of capital by the state government.
Although Western Australia is noted for its lightweight
aluminium vessels (20 percent of the world's fast ferries are built
here), a great deal of heavy steel fabrication also takes place at
AMC. The complex is linked to other heavy industry centres by
roads capable of high and wide loads, so final fabrication of
modules made elsewhere can take place, giving added flexibility.
A selection of the work carried out at the facility includes the
construction of jacket structures, platforms and piles for offshore
natural gas, a modular 3,000-tonne iron ore loadout wharf and an
iron ore ship loader. Heavy fabrication work is set to increase with
new offshore development.
The oil and gas fields off Australia's northwest coast have
been a significant part of Western Australia's economy for many
years, rivalling iron ore in importance. In September the final
signatures were placed on the documents initiating Australia's
largest ever resources project, Chevron's Gorgon Project. Located
to the west of Barrow Island, the greater Gorgon Field contains
upwards of 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This is expected
to have a life of over 40 years, in the first 30 boosting Australia's
GDP by $64 billion, and consuming $33 billion of local goods
The infrastructure needed will be massive, and opportunities for
local businesses equally so. Already the Gorgon project has taken
on a local aspect, with Chevron securing a waterfront service area
The adjacent Marine Support Facility, operated by BAE Systems,
gives the AMC considerable capacity for maintenance, repair and
refit work. This is the site where a commercial tanker was
converted into a naval replenishment vessel. The most significant
piece of equipment is one of Australia's biggest capacity ship lifts:
8,000 tonnes and up to 140 metres in length. This is a key factor in
the basing of frigates and submarines at HMAS Stirling, and was
the subject of joint Federal and state funding. Upwards of 400
people are dedicated to naval support.
The lifter is, of course, also available for commercial vessels, and
is an important facility for the offshore support fleet. A side
transfer system, cranes, and a large workshop area back it up.
The Australian giant Austal dominates the 35-hectare
Shipbuilding Precinct, but significant output also comes from
Strategic Marine, SBF, Hanseatic Marine and Evolution Yachts.
Many smaller builders are also present elsewhere in Henderson,
and the annual value of recreational and light commercial
building is around $50 million. These smaller companies, building
mainly aluminium craft, are a valuable resource for the larger
builders. At times of high pressure, they fabricate many
sub-assemblies for large vessels.
Among the smaller builders are several with international
reputations. LeisureCat builds craft that are the offshore sports
fishing platform of choice from the USA to Italy, and Kirby Marine
builds RIBs that are admitted by knowledgeable Europeans to be
the best they have ever seen.
Building, fabrication and maintenance are supported by dozens
of suppliers, contractors and manufacturers, for whom the
38-hectare Support Precinct was created. Crane hire, blasting,
painting, diving equipment, electrical manufacturing and
installation, foundry work, windows, seats -- the internationally
renowned Beurteaux seats are made here -- marine interiors and
furniture, and all the other necessary services and suppliers are on
hand. There are even campuses of two marine colleges.
The Technology Precinct, the newest of the precincts, is
intended to become the centre for research, education and
technology development for the marine, defence and oil and gas
industries. Raytheon Australia typifies the precinct's businesses.
Their new facility is part of Raytheon's Systems Group, specialising
in naval systems software design and engineering.
Also based within the Technology Precinct is the $21 million
Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training (ACEPT), the
shopfront wanting training associated with the marine and resources
sectors. Hosted by Challenger TAFE, it is guided by a board
representing industry. This $21 million facility is equipped to provide
hands-on and academic training up to associate degree level.
AUSMARINE November 2009 19
Focus on WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The AMC CUF and shipbuilding precinct
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