Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced that the Australian Defence Force has now officially taken ownership of its new humanitarian and disaster relief vessel, the Skandi Bergen, which will be re-named Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield (ADV Ocean Shield).
The ship will now make its way from Norway and is expected to arrive in Australia in July. It will be available to the Royal Australian Navy for tasking upon its arrival.
On 19 March the Government announced it had purchased the Offshore Support Vessel to add to the Royal Australian Navy's current amphibious ships, HMAS Choules and HMAS Tobruk.
The 6,500 tonne ship is 105 metres long and 21 metres wide. It has accommodation for up to 100 people, more than 1000 metres of deck area, and a helipad.
Defence has taken ownership of the vessel after extensive sea trials oversighted by international shipping firm Teekay Shipping.
The purchase of this vessel will ensure that Defence has the humanitarian and disaster relief capability required between now and the arrival of the two new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships in the middle of the decade.
It will primarily be used to transport troops and supplies in support of humanitarian and disaster relief operations domestically and in the region.
After Defence introduces the first LHD into service, the vessel will be transferred to Customs and Border Protection to provide a long term capability for Customs and Border Protection.
It will be able to undertake patrols in the Southern Ocean providing surveillance, detection and apprehension of any vessels operating illegally. The vessel is able to operate in sub-Antarctic weather conditions.
The vessel is the sister ship of the Ocean Protector which is currently operated by Customs and Border Protection and undertakes these patrols.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003&search=11120487
Mr Smith's Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999