Cape-class patrol boat

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For other uses, see Cape class.
Cape St George, on Darwin Harbour.jpg
ACV Cape St George on Darwin Harbour in 2014
Class overview
Name: Cape class
Builders: Austal Ships
Operators: Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Preceded by: Bay-class patrol boat
Built: 2011–2015 (predicted)
In service: 2013–
Planned: 8
General characteristics
Type: Patrol boat
Length: 57.8 metres (190 ft)
Beam: 10.3 metres (34 ft)
Draught: 3 metres (9.8 ft)
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Endurance: 28 days
Boats and landing
craft carried:
2 x 7.3 m (24 ft) Gemini RHIBs
1 x small boat
Crew: 18
Armament: 2 x .50 calibre machine guns

The Cape class is a ship class of eight large patrol boats to be operated by the Customs Marine Unit of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Ordered in 2011, the vessels will be built by Austal Ships to replace Customs' Bay-class patrol boats, and will enter service from 2013 onwards.

Design and construction[edit]

The Bay class was due to be replaced in 2010, but it was not until June of that year that a request for tender was issued for eight new, larger patrol boats.[1][2] Austal Ships received the tender for eight 57.8 metres (190 ft) patrol boats on 12 August 2011.[3] Each vessel is 57.8 metres (190 ft) in length, with a beam of 10.3 metres (34 ft) and a draught of 3 metres (9.8 ft).[4] Propulsion machinery consists of two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines, providing 6,770 horsepower (5,050 kW) to two propeller shafts.[4] A 160-kilowatt (210 hp) bow thruster is also fitted.[4] Maximum speed is 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), with a range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph), and an endurance of 28 days.[4][5] They have a crew of 18.[4] Each Cape-class vessel is armed with two .50 calibre machine guns, and carries two 7.3-metre (24 ft) Gemini RHIB interception craft in cradles at the stern, along with a small boat carried amidships.[4][5]

Construction of the new vessels was to start in February 2012,[3][needs update] and the first vessel was launched in January 2013.[6] It was named Cape St. George on 15 March 2013.[7][8][9] The boats are to be named after eight capes in Australia: Cape St George, Cape Byron, Cape Nelson, Cape Sorell, Cape Jervis, Cape Leveque, Cape Wessel and Cape York.[10]

The new patrol boats will enter service between March 2013 and August 2015, with the Bay class likely to remain in service until the latter date.[1][2][3]

According to media reports, prior to the tender process, information about the project was leaked to Austal by a senior Customs official.[11][12] The leak was reported to occur during an investigation of claims that the tendering requirements had been set up to favour Austal.[11] Customs stated in March 2013 that reports of leaks during the tendering process were unfounded, and that internal and external investigations of the accusation concluded that the tender process had not been compromised or set up to favour a particular tenderer.[11][12]


  1. ^ a b Parnell, Navy and Customs vessels cut back on border patrols
  2. ^ a b Australian Security Magazine, Govt to buy new border patrol vessels
  3. ^ a b c "Austal Awarded Cape Class Patrol Boat Contract". Media Releases. Austal. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Saunders (ed.), IHS Jane's Fighting Ships 2012–2013, p. 39
  5. ^ a b "Austal Patrol 58 – Cape Class" (PDF). Austal. May 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Australian Associated Press, Austal looks to Asia and Middle East
  7. ^ "First Cape Class Patrol Boat officially named". Austal Media Release. Austal. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Media Statement – Cape St George – 15 March 2013". Australian Customs and Border Protection Service website. Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "First Cape Class Patrol Boat officially named Cape St George". Minister for Home Affairs website. Minister for Home Affairs. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  10. ^ "Cape Class Patrol Boats, Australia". Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Besser & Snow, $350 million boat deal leak revealed
  12. ^ a b "Media Statement – Bay Class Replacement Vessel process – 19 March 2013". Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 


News articles

External links[edit]