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Roebuck Bay takes on new meaning for customs

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The Hon. Warren Truss, MP Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs Deputy Leader of the House

MEDIA RELEASE 7 August 1998 276/98



The first o f eight new Customs vessels being built in Western Australia will be named after Roebuck Bay at Broome, the Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs, Warren Truss, announced today while inspecting building progress on the vessel.

Due for completion by March 1999, the Roebuck Bay will be capable o f operating around Australia’s 37 000-kilometre coastline and out to the edge o f the 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone. The introduction of the vessels will mark an enormous expansion o f the Customs fleet capabilities.

WA ship builder Austal Ships Pty Ltd, located in the Perth suburb o f Henderson, was awarded the $58.4m contract in May this year to build and maintain a new fleet of Customs vessels.

Mr Truss said the decision to fund the new sea-going fleet for Customs demonstrated the Federal Government’s commitment to the Prime Minister’s Tough on Drugs strategy.

“The Roebuck Bay, together with its sister ships, will provide greater capacity to protect Australia’s border and to carry out duties on behalf o f Customs and other Commonwealth agencies,” Mr Truss said.

“The 35-metre, aluminium-hulled vessels will have a range o f 1000 nautical miles at 20 knots and will be capable of transporting, for extended periods, up to one tonne of equipment and eight people in addition to a crew of up to nine officers. The vessel will also be capable of accommodating additional people for short periods, for example survivors in a rescue situation

or suspected lawbreakers.”

To be known as the Bay Class series, the boats built by Austal Ships Pty Ltd will be named after bays around the Australian coastline.

Roebuck Bay at Broome has had a long association with Customs with the first Customs House being built there in 1889. Earlier, the Governor appointed Pemberton Walcott to be inspector o f Pearl Shell Fisheries, Sub-Collector o f Revenue and an officer of Customs in 1879. Today the Australian Customs Vessel Andrew Fisher is moored in Roebuck Bay when

not on patrol.

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