Southerly Designs Success for Cape Wickham Patrol Vessel Project

West Australian based naval architects Southerly Designs has a long-established and continuing presence in the maritime security sector.

We have a large and continuously expanding database of patrol vessels and related craft for a wide range of applications.

A notable recent example in this sector is the now proven and highly successful ‘Cape Wickham’ patrol vessel for Australia’s Tasmania Police Department.

This state of the art 24m vessel is the newest acquisition for that agency and supersedes an existing large patrol vessel ‘Van Diemen’ launched in 1995 and also to a design by Southerly Designs.

So successful has been the Van Diemen that the specification for a replacement for this trusted vessel effectively called for a modernised version of the same vessel.

Tasmania Police jurisdiction covers policing, fisheries enforcement, and search and rescue duties in what are arguably Australia’s most treacherous waters, where fierce storms and enormous Southern Ocean swells are the norm rather than the exception.

While the majority of the more routine duties are able to be carried out by the smaller vessels in the TasPol fleet, it is the long-range patrols and offshore search and rescue duties that see the Cape Wickham come into its own.

The demanding sea conditions naturally place superior seakeeping at the top of the list of essential requirements for such a vessel, followed closely by structural strength, reliability, and range.  Southerly Designs have delivered all of this and more for the new vessel, in particular the renowned and outstanding seakeeping performance of Southerly hulls has played a crucial role in the success of the project.

This enduring characteristic in combination with ongoing refinement in layout, engineering, structure, and of course more modern equipment, has resulted in the new vessel surpassing its older sister in every measure.

Lead contractor for the construction and delivery of the new flagship for Tasmania Police was Fine Entry Marine of Geraldton, Western Australia.

As with all shipbuilding contracts the final product cannot perform to requirements if the shipbuilder and contractor are not up to the task. Just as a quality shipbuilder cannot deliver an outstanding product if the fundamental design is not of suitable quality.

In this case, the proven design capability of Southerly Designs has been executed to an outstanding level of quality and finish by Fine Entry Marine and their network of skilled and experienced subcontractors.

At moulded dimensions of 2.95m × 6.6m, this vessel packs a lot of capability into a relatively small package.

Features include a top speed of 30k provided by two Caterpillar C32 main engines of 1,342kW each, driving through fixed conventional shafts and fixed pitch propellers.

Features include:

  • 1000nm range at 20k + reserve
  • Two Daughter craft:
    • One 5.4m high-speed RHIB launched and retrieved via the transom on a dedicated slipway
    • One 4.5m dive support and utility vessel stowed on the upper deck and launched via hydraulic deck crane
  • Hydraulic knuckle boom deck crane
  • Towing and recovery lines stored on deck mounted reels
  • Scuba and hooker diving equipment
  • Evidence lockers
  • Fish trap hauling equipment

Internally on the main deck she features a bridge area isolated from deck and other operations and providing direct access to the external side decks, as well as to the flying bridge.

The bridge features a comprehensive suite of communications and navigation equipment, an EO system with thermo optics, a computer workstation and four observer seats.

A day lounge / operations room sits aft of the bridge with seating for eight, desk space, AV equipment and refreshments area.

Above the bridge is located an exterior flybridge, accessed from the aft deck or from the main bridge. The flybridge includes slave displays from the main helm, full engine and steering controls, observer seats and access to the upper tender deck.

Below deck includes accommodation for eight in four cabins with a spacious galley and mess area, dedicated laundry and direct access to bridge, after deck and engine room.

Such is the quality of design, construction and equipment embodied within this impressive vessel that it was the winner in its class to receive the 2017 ‘Best Offshore Patrol Boat’ from Ausmarine magazine.

The Southerly Designs portfolio of patrol, security and military vessels includes this design along with many others.  Southerly vessels are currently in service with a range of organisations, including military, paramilitary, police, coast guard, search and rescue and fisheries enforcement with government authorities throughout Australia and in several international jurisdictions.

Currently, active projects in this sector include high-speed RIB’s, high performance offshore capable long-range insertion craft, and series of 18.5m offshore patrol and response vessels.

Southerly Designs offer a custom design service for any application with proven designs for offshore and harbour patrol, high-speed interception, security and support roles.  Our team has the experience to deliver designs that will exceed even the most stringent of specifications.

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