Northern Australia's maritime industries hub

The Australian Government, represented by the Department of Defence, is acquiring 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) under an acquisition contract entered into in January 2018 with Luerssen Australia Pty Ltd.

Six of the OPVs will be home ported in Darwin at HMAS Coonawarra.

The Department of Defence have issued an invitation to register (ITR) for the sustainment of the OPVs. This ITR closed on 18 May 2018.

SEA 1180 Phase 1 Offshore Patrol Vessels

SEA 1180 Phase 1 OPVs will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the 13 existing Armidale Class Patrol Boats.

The OPV is based on an existing Luerssen PV-80 design, a variant of which is in service with the Royal Brunei Navy.

Construction of the first two OPVs will commence in Adelaide in late 2018. The remaining 10 OPVs will be built in Western Australia. The first OPV is scheduled for delivery to the Department of Defence in late-2021 with the remaining 11 vessels being delivered at intervals of nine months.

Infrastructure investment to support Offshore Patrol Vessels

Australian Defence Force investment at HMAS Coonawarra

Planned upgrades to HMAS Coonawarra recognise the need to support Australian Defence Force (ADF) operations across Australia’s northern approaches. Darwin is effectively the only port capable of providing the facilities necessary for forward support to a range of maritime operations and exercises, particularly when mounting maritime operations into the region.

Supporting naval infrastructure investment includes:

  1. $260 million - facilities to support naval operations in the north (new outer wharf and enhanced fuel installation) (N2238). For more information go to the Department of Defence website
  2. $311 million - OPV facilities (N2263)

The Public Works Committee held a hearing in Darwin on 1 May in relation to N2238.

Northern Territory Government investment into the Darwin Ship Lift Facility

The Northern Territory (NT) Government has committed $100 million to the development of a ship lift facility that will be operational by 2021.

The Darwin Ship Lift Facility will have the capacity to lift vessels more than 90 metres in length, including the new fleet of OPVs being procured for the Department of Defence.

The proposed Darwin Ship Lift Facility will include:

  • a ship lift, capable of lifting vessels out of the water for dry docking and maintenance works
  • and a common user area, being a hardstand area available for ship repair and maintenance works.

The facility is being designed to meet the needs of the general maritime sector and the current and long-term needs of the Department of Defence and the Australian Border Force (ABF). This facility will enable the maintenance and servicing of Defence and ABF vessels, along with commercial and private vessels, including from the oil, gas and marine industries.

A project development agreement was reached between the NT Government and the Paspaley Group to deliver the Darwin Ship Lift and Marine Industries Project and was announced on 21 September 2017. The project will be delivered through a wholly owned subsidiary of the Paspaley Group, Northern Ship Support Pty Ltd.

The facility will be underpinned by a statutory access and pricing access regime that will ensure an open access, common user facility model is achieved. The statutory regime will be regulated by the Utilities Commissioner.

The existing syncrolift at HMAS Coonawarra is not capable of lifting an OPV. The NT Government expects that the availability of a new common user ship lift facility will advance closure of the existing HMAS Coonawarra ship lift facilities.

Marine Service Area

The Marine Service Area will be established on eight hectares of land strategically located north of the common user facility and the proposed ship lift. To view the Marine Service Area and its strategic location within the Marine Industry Park view the Marine Industry Park video

For more information go to the Land Development Corporation website

For organisations interested in securing land in the new Marine Service Area please contact Jenny Strange of the Land Development Corporation on 08 8944 0930 or

Northern Australia’s maritime industries hub

The NT is a regional hub and is rapidly growing as a centre for maritime services and supply supporting the operations of the ADF, United States and other allied forces, the ABF, the offshore oil and gas industry, commercial fishing industry and the general maritime industry.

The Port of Darwin is strategically positioned as Australia’s most northern port and nearest port to Asia. The Port of Darwin is a busy naval port with significant commercial traffic. Darwin is home to the supply and service bases of three LNG projects (four trains) requiring significant maritime support for offshore assets (Darwin LNG, Ichthys LNG and Shell Prelude).

Maritime sustainment is a strength of the NT Defence support industry. This is demonstrated by the current sustainment work carried out in Darwin for the Armidale Class Patrol Boats (for Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and managed by Thales) and Cape Class Patrol Vessels (for RAN and ABF).

The Northern Territory’s Defence support industry is one with considerable experience in sustainment across several industry sectors - driven by decades of oil and gas and resource industry growth and expertise. The Defence maritime industry is characterised by a broad range of businesses such as welding, engineering, fabrication, mechanical, electrical and logistics.

A study commissioned by the NT Government provides evidence to support the strong capabilities of businesses in the NT to service and supply the Defence maritime industry. The study analysed 74 scopes of work associated with the servicing of the maritime industry. The study found 505 NT businesses with capacity to service the industry with 120 NT businesses having full capacity with relevant accreditations and proven experience.

For further information read the Statement of Capacity: Marine Services Industry in the Northern Territory.

Offshore Patrol Vessel sustainment

Information for bidders

The NT Government is keen to work with bidders for the sustainment of OPVs. To that end, the NT Government has been engaging with stakeholders and has made the following information available:

  1. Northern Australia and South East Asia’s Maritime Industries Hub briefing pack (3.9 mb)
  2. Map of key infrastructure in the Port of Darwin (1.1 mb)
  3. Statement of Capacity: Marine Services Industry in the Northern Territory
  4. Industry Skills Advisory Council NT’s insights into the Defence Industries Maritime Maintenance.

Should you require an alternative version of the documents please phone 08 8999 7801 or email

Industry Capability Network Northern Territory database

Organisations interested in being part of the OPV sustainment supply chain are encouraged to contact the Industry Capability Network NT to register their capabilities or update their current registration.

Information for NT businesses

To assist bidders for the sustainment of OPVs understand local capability the NT Government is compiling a list of interested organisations.

If you are or planning to provide maritime services in the NT please register your interest in being part of the OPV sustainment supply chain by completing the online form.

For further enquiries please contact Ian Lakey of DefenceNT on 08 8999 7801 or

Last updated: 29 May 2019


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