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November 2010 AUSMARINE
Australia's Defence Department has selected ST Marine as the
preferred tenderer to convert the Royal Australian Navy
tanker HMAS 'Success' to be double hulled.
ST Marine represented the best value for money and the
shortest time out of service, the Navy claimed.
The work will be carried out in Singapore, where the ship has
a scheduled visit while on deployment in Asia and involves the
double hulling of the HMAS 'Success' to meet International
Maritime Organisation standards for environmental protection
against oil spills.
ST Marine's tender came in under budget. As a result, funds
saved on this project will be re-directed towards the priority
repair and maintenance work required on HMAS 'Kanimbla' and
HMAS 'Manoora', for which a precautionary "Operational Pause"
was recently initiated by the Chief of Navy. This work will occur
concurrently at Garden Island, Sydney.
Overseas companies were allowed to bid for the work on
HMAS 'Success' as this is a one-off project -- work of this type will
never again be carried out in Australia; and no Australian
company had ever undertaken work of this type.
The on-going repair and maintenance of Navy ships happens
in Australia and will stay in Australia, said the Navy. This
includes the regular and on-going repair and maintenance of
This year Defence will spend approximately $79 million on
ship repair and maintenance in the Sydney region.
Next year Defence has budgeted to spend $81 million on ship
repair and maintenance in the Sydney region. Next year Defence
will also issue tenders for five-year contracts for the repair and
maintenance of Navy ships at Garden Island. This work will all
occur in Australia and is worth about half a billion dollars over
the five years.
These long-term contracts will provide more security for
Australian businesses and more job security for their workforce,
claimed the Navy.
Australia's largest aluminium RIB manufacturer, Woody
Marine Fabrication (WMF), has confirmed a change of
ownership with the company's in-house naval architect
Stephen Plummer as the new owner.
After a transition of ownership and management, WMF
continues to manufacture as normal under the new structure.
Previous owner Dave Green and wife Deidre, who had managed
the business from the beginning, remain on hand, supporting
the transition on a day-to-day basis.
"I can think of no better man to be running this company,"
Mr Green said.
"Stephen Plummer is a fine man. He is exceptionally well
qualified and a very intelligent person with a wealth of
experience in this industry segment."
"The future of WMF is secure and in capable hands. The
change in ownership to Stephen will prove to be a defining
moment in the history of this business."
WMF is an iconic aluminium boat manufacturer, with the vast
majority of boats rolling out of the Brisbane facility being
aluminium-hulled RIBs. The company has accrued a number of
landmark achievements, the most recent being that it was the
first company in the world to design and manufacture a RIB with
four Yamaha F350 outboards on the transom. WMF has now
built seven of these 14-metre RIBs and there is currently an order
on its books to build a bigger RIB with five F350s.
The person responsible for the design of these groundbreaking
vessels is Stephen Plummer.
"The chance to acquire WMF is a wonderful opportunity,"
Stephen said. "This is a company that has thrived on supporting
a market niche and in the process grown throughout the
duration of the GFC."
"Commercially, it is a wonderful opportunity to own such a
successful and iconic business. Personally, it's heartening to now
own the company that I have been such an integral part of for
much of my professional career."
Stephen Plummer graduated in 1996 from the Australian
Maritime College at Launceston with a Bachelor of Engineering
in Naval Architecture with First Class Honours. After graduating,
Stephen began working for Norman R Wright & Sons, ship
designers and shipbuilders, in Brisbane.
It was while working at Norman R Wright that Stephen first
came in to contact with Woody Enterprises, as the two
companies interacted commercially.
"My first hull designs at Norman R Wright were aluminium
vessels destined for hard work in oil research and ocean seismic
work," Stephen said.
In 2004 Stephen made the all-important career change and
decided to work full time for WMF. At this time, the company
was forging an ever-stronger presence in the aluminium RIB
market, but required specialist design support.
"Not all of our production is devoted to RIB boats," Stephen
said. "We are currently mid-way through the construction of a
17-metre all aluminium pilot vessel destined for a large and
well-established Australian company, which involves a
partnership between Woody and Camarc Design in the UK.
This is the largest pilot boat that we have manufactured at
WMF to date, up from the 15-metre pilot boat we delivered
earlier this year for Port Kembla."
Coincidentally, WMF has announced that it has severed its
commercial arrangement with the New Zealand-based company
Stephen Plummer commented that the association had run its
course and the time was right to move forward as an
"We have developed our own WMF hull designs over the past
years so that they are unique to WMF," Stephen said. "We are
currently in the process of concluding the design and
manufacture of WMF tubes which will be custom made for our
vessels. I am absolutely confident they will be superior to
anything that we have fitted in the past."
So with WMF mid-way through the build of the biggest vessel
to roll off the line, a new world first on the books and an order
book which stretches well into 2011, according to Woody the
time for Stephen Plummer to assume ownership of WMF could
not be better.
Australian Navy vessel double-hulled in Singapore
Royal Australian Navy
tanker HMAS 'Success'
WMF powers ahead under new ownership and new plans
Naval architect Stephen Plummer (left) has become the new owner of
Woody Marine Fabrication, a company originally founded by Dave Green
(right) in Queensland
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