Dongara Marine has been awarded the tender to build a new modern fisheries patrol vessel to protect Western Australia’s northern waters. The government is investing $13.7 million into the project to replace the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s ageing Patrol Vessel (PV) Walcott.
A fit-for-purpose fleet of research and patrol vessels is essential to the ongoing sustainability of the WA fishing industry and the State’s Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. The new 24 metre patrol vessel will have a longer fuel range to conduct extended voyages, low engine emissions, and improved living conditions compared to the existing 25-year-old PV Walcott.
The vessel will be able to conduct extended voyages of up to 14 days with accommodation and food storage for 10 people, has a more efficient hull design with twin keels to provide improved stability and reduced roll, the latest navigation equipment, and infra-red night vision to support search and research and night-time patrols. It will also have a 5.5 metre tender to conduct inspections and boardings at sea.
When completed the patrol vessel will be based in Broome and used for a range of core government roles including domestic fisheries compliance, marine park management, shark incident response, marine safety, sea search and rescue, whale disentanglement and illegal foreign fishing interception. Work is expected to commence this month (October) with the aim of being completed by September 2025.
Fisheries and Regional Development Minister Don Punch said: “Research, stock assessment and monitoring, and compliance work underpins the sustainability of our State’s valuable fisheries and it is vital that we have a fit-for-purpose fleet of patrol and research vessels to support this work along WA’s 12,000km of coastline. In WA we have some of the best small to medium sized boat builders in the country and I am pleased to be at Dongara Marine today where the new patrol vessel will be built. Investing in projects which support regional manufacturing also helps to generate local employment, in this case in the boat building and maintenance industry in the Mid West.”
Commenting on the project, Dongara Marine’s Managing Director, Rohan Warr, said: “The award of this project is great recognition for the work our staff, subcontractors, and suppliers have been doing building many different types of new vessels for government agencies, commercial operators, and private buyers. We look forward to working with DPIRD to deliver a similarly successful shipbuilding project. In addition to a highly capable patrol boat that will bring lasting benefits to fisheries compliance operations, that success will also be evident in employment, training, and economic benefits that will flow from its construction.”