Newcastle shipbuilder Forgacs has offered the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) its Brisbane graving dock to use as a naval repair centre.
As The Newcastle Herald reports, Forgacs recently closed the dry dock on the grounds that it was not commercially viable. There has been a recent downturn in commercial ship repairs which has been brought about by competition from Asian docks.
However, the facility on the Brisbane River is one of only two docks in the country and, according to Forgacs chief executive office Lindsay Stratton, it is a strategic national asset.
‘‘It’s a very, very valuable asset, it’s of strategic importance to Forgacs but we think it’s of strategic importance to the navy as well,’’ Stratton said.
‘‘We are looking to make it available. It could be under a lease or through a common user approach, by which an asset is available to those who need it.’’
He added that the company has no intention to sell the facility.
The ABC reports that Forgacs recently attended a major defence expo in Sydney where it met with international chiefs, high level executives and government officials.
As a result of the event, Stratton said he was optimistic about his company’s future and that he has a clear understanding of how to meet the RAN’s requirements for future contracts.
The RAN is likely to require around 40 new ships in the next 20 years.
“The contracts of course are not yet in play so it’s now a case of which of those contracts is likely to come forward first and we have some idea about that and we’re getting transparency about that and you know we’re hopeful that the very first of those would be sometime early next year,” Stratton said.