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Tuesday, 3 December 1974
Page: 3012

Senator CAVANAGH (South AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I seek leave to make a ministerial statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Senator CAVANAGH -On 22 October 1974, during the sitting of Estimates Committee G, Senator Rae asked the following question:

In respect of the Seacoaster vessel being constructed at the State Dockyard, what was the nature of the protracted negotiations and the reason for them?

The Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones) has supplied the following answer to Senator Rae 's question:

Tenders for a twin screw Seacoaster were called on 30 August 1972, and closed on 15 November 1972. Subsequently in March 1973, as part of its evaluation of tenders, the Australian National Line asked the State Dockyard to investigate the fitting of a single screw arrangement. On the basis of information supplied by the State Dockyard it was estimated this would reduce the construction cost by approximately $500,000 and offer certain operational economies.

The Minister for Transport was not prepared to agree to the ANL entering into a contract for the construction of a single screw Seacoaster at that time until further research being conducted into the likely performance characteristics of a single screw design was completed.

It is normal practice for vessels of advanced design to be tank tested. This is a procedure whereby a scale model of the vessel's design is tested to determine the vessel's likely performance characteristics. Such testing has become particularly important in recent years as problems of aft end vibration and propeller cavitation have occurred both in Australia and overseas on a number of highly powered single screw vessels.

The ANL asked the State Dockyard to investigate the single screw design. The State Dockyard undertook investigations in consultation with the Hitachi Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Japan with whom it has a technical co-operation agreement. Subsequently it also consulted with Hamburg Ship Testing Authority on tank testing of the design (The Hamburg Ship Testing Authority had previously undertaken work of the twin screw design).

On 14 November 1973, the State Dockyard advised as a result of these investigations, that there was a risk of cavitation with the single screw design. Mindful of recent similar problems in other single screw vessels the ANL decided in December to proceed with the twin screw design. However, to expedite production the ANL had prior to this sent a Letter of Intent to the State Dockyard on 6 September 1973, authorising the Dockyard to put in hand all work not subject to possible variation in design, including the ordering of all appropriate materials and equipment.

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