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AUSMARINE February 2010 17
Australian Navy sailors have told The Weekend Australian
that crews are still being exposed to gas leaks on the
Armidale-class patrol boats, built by Austal.
The vessels were built to meet commercial classification
standards and were later modified to meet naval regulations.
One sailor was gassed in 2009 in an incident that was similar
to a gas leak in 2006 which, it is claimed, nearly killed four crew.
According to the paper, traces of toxic gas have been found in
secured compartments of the vessels due to a design defect. The
problems were brought to light in a secret report into the gassing
of some of the HMAS 'Maitland' crew during a training exercise
in Darwin in August 2006.
"The sailor was gassed with hydrogen sulphide like the other
sailors of the 'Maitland' and it was because of the same problems
with the air vents and holding tanks," a senior sailor, speaking
on condition of anonymity told the paper. "They also keep
finding traces of carbon monoxide."
"The Armidale-class patrol boat is a safe, capable and reliable
asset," the Defence Department insisted.
On January 2, 2010, the Chief of the Royal Australian Navy
issued another statement, saying that he had asked the Navy's
Patrol Boat Group Headquarters to check their files.
"There is no record of this occurring," read the statement.
"For those who have not been aboard an Armidale, the austere
accommodation compartment is designed to house any
unexpected overflow of people. When not in use, the space is
rarely used and usually sealed off. Therefore, the area is
constantly monitored for any trace of toxic gas. Alarms sound at
the slightest hint that levels of gas have risen to potentially
"The Navy has never hidden the fact that like any new asset,
the Armidales had some teething problems."
Australian Navy sailors claim patrol boat gas leak problem persists
The RAN Armidale-class patrol boats are under scrutiny after reported gas leaks
The catamaran 'Sir David Martin' was one of three Jetcats
axed from service on Sydney Harbour at the end of 2008.
A poor service record and high running costs were the reasons
cited for the axing but the vessel now has a new life in the Port
of Cebu, The Philippines.
The 34.8-metre Incat-designed, NQFA built, vessel has two
Kamewa waterjets (Model 63S11) and an unladen speed of 31
knots. The vessel can carry 250 passengers on the lower deck and
30 on the upper deck. Now called 'SuperCat 38', it started taking
passengers from Cebu to Bohol late last year and Captain Lyndon
Landoy, port captain for vessel owner, SuperCat Fast Ferries
Seacrafts, says the new acquisition provides a smoother, more
comfortable ride than other vessels in their fleet.
The hulls are joined by two fabricated aluminium bridges, one
forward and one aft. The upper superstructure is a self-contained
aluminium unit and it is supported by rubber anti-vibration
mounts that isolate engine noise and vibration.
Before taking up service in The Philippines, 'SuperCat 38' had
air conditioning installed for the entire lower deck
accommodation area and more amenities for passenger comfort
were added including entertainment systems, a kiosk and a shade
canopy for the upper deck.
'SuperCat 38' will shortly be joined by another of the three
Jetcats axed from service in Sydney. 'SuperCat 36', previously
'Blue Fin' is currently undergoing an engine overhaul and refit
and is expected to commence operation between Batangas and
Calapan later this month.
[It can be assumed that the lack of reliability of the Jetcats in Sydney was
more closely related to personel problems than mechanical ones. -- ED]
A prosperous new life for one of Sydney's axed Jetcats
The 'Sir David Martin', taken from service in Sydney Harbour in 2008, is
now called 'SuperCat 38' and is successfully serving in the Port of Cebu in
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