Just days after Rivergate Marina & Shipyard announced a $200m expansion, a further two new developments stand to significantly impact on Queensland’s superyacht shipyard capacity. One of these is a new collaboration involving the Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard (GCCM) for superyachts up to 120m (394ft) and the takeover of BSE Maritime Solutions by Austal.

Ironically the GCCM collaboration with the Pacific Marine Base Brisbane (PMB), a division of the Pacific Tug Group (PTG), is located almost next door to Rivergate at Murarrie on the Brisbane River. The two will now be collaboratively operating, managing and marketing the PMB, as a superyacht on-water refit facility on the Brisbane River at Murarrie. PMB currently has in-water infrastructure for yachts up to 100m (328ft) with a new working dock for yachts up 120m currently under construction.

Building on GCCM’s experience at its Gold Coast Coomera River facility, which is also undergoing a A$100m expansion at present, best practice methods will be applied at PMB in partnership with PTG. These will oversee the project management and marketing to superyachts at PMB and additionally the partnership couples PTG’s existing on-water infrastructure with GCCM’s project management and operational expertise.

“Over 20 years of operation, we have developed world class project management procedures and leading capability for managing on-water work. As the yachts coming our way are getting larger, the infrastructure needs to keep up and this facility on the Brisbane River will fill a gap now. We know what our customers need, want and deserve, and with the existing work docks and new working docks, we can deliver this service for yachts up to 120m,” explained Trenton Gay, CEO of GCCM.

The site based at 50 Paringa Road, Murarrie, offers 330m (1,083.5ft) of shoreline on the Brisbane River providing deep water access of up to 10m (33ft), unrestricted air draught, and two work berths of 100m each. Heavy vehicles and cranes can easily access the dock and shore-based support includes engineering and fabrication workshops. Owners of the facility, PTG, is constructing an additional dock for yachts up to 120m with the same access. The facility also boasts a Customs and Bio Security ‘First Point of Entry’ where international vessels and crew can clear in on arrival.

“PMB is situated in an outstanding location on the Brisbane River within the trade coast precinct. It offers immediate connection to major road networks; deep water access and mooring; heavy-lift capabilities; cargo load out; in-water refit capabilities and on-site trade services including boiler making & fitting. Partnering with GCCM provides the superyacht industry with access to both a great facility and experienced project management team,” commented Chris Peters, CEO of PTG.

Peters added: “Pacific Tug is looking forward to working with Mr Gay and his team at GCCM to bring an additional layer of support to the superyacht industry.” The team has already begun with an 85-metre research vessel completing significant engineering works to deck equipment with GCCM tenants, Pacific Maritime Solutions and Sweep Marine Services, working in situ.

In the other development, Austal Ltd, an Australian-listed shipbuilder of fast ferries and specialist naval vessels with yards in Australian and the US, is acquiring BSE Maritime Solutions Group with yards in Cairns and Brisbane, through a A$27.5m takeover. Through its Cairns Slipway subsidiary the group is actively involved in the repair and refit of superyachts as well as commercial and naval craft.

In a statement Austral, which itself used to be involved with the superyacht market through its Oceanfast brand, said: “The acquisition aligns with Austal’s stated strategy of continuing to build the Company’s key support business. Revenue from Austal’s support segment has grown at an annual rate of 28% over the past four years to reach A$360m in the 2020 financial year, providing reliable ongoing revenue in addition to Austal’s shipbuilding operations.”

BSE’s current customers include Australian Border Force, BAE Systems, Thales and Svitzer as well as dealing with superyachts. The group employs approximately 60 permanent staff who will be offered employment with Austal. BSE Cairns Slipway expanded its capacity earlier this year with the purchase of a 1,120-tonne capacity travel lift.

David Singleton, Austal’s CEO said: “BSE Maritime Solutions is a quality business and its acquisition aligns with our stated strategy of growing our support division, adding further scale to our operations on the east coast of Australia in addition to our existing support services at Henderson, Cairns, and Darwin.”

“In particular, the acquisition provides Austal with dockyard and ship lift capability in the northeast region of Australia – including the Pacific’s largest mobile boat hoist, capable of moving 1120 tonnes – supporting our existing and future customers and reinforcing our commitment to grow in the region. It further enhances our in-service support capabilities, currently provided across multiple facilities in Cairns, for the Austal-designed and constructed Cape-class and Guardian-class patrol boats.”

Austal expects that the new business will generate an EBITDA of A$5m in FY2021 rising to A$11m by FY2025 as more Austal ships covered by current sustainment contracts are delivered to the Commonwealth of Australia. Agreement terms under the acquisition agreement Austal will acquire all of the shares in BSE Maritime Group Ltd, Brisbane Slipway Holdings Pty Ltd, and Brisbane Slipways and Engineering Pty Ltd. The purchase will be funded from Austal’s strong cash reserves, which currently stand at A$272.4m net cash position as at June 30, 2020.

The Agreement is subject to a number of customary conditions precedent to completion and is expected to settle at the end of November 2020.