Shipping news has industry anything but high and dry

IT’S been a big week in WA shipping news.

Austal’s subsidiary Oceanfast loaded the Sagitta (pictured bottom), its biggest ever luxury yacht, on a merchant ship bound for Greece, where a relieved owner will be glad to take possession of the vessel.

Oceanfast was midway though construction of Sagitta’s predecessor last year when a fire caused about $30 million worth of damage to the boat and sheds. The original hull was a write-off.

The buoyant luxury yacht market has proved a helpful counter to sluggish fast ferry sales. Oceanfast has half built Greg Norman’s latest $60 million toy and has opened an office in Florida, home of the world’s super cruisers.

Just a day after Sagitta’s spectacular lift in Fremantle Harbour, naval gazers’ attention turned northwards when Mermaid Marine christened its new slipway to complete the first stage of its Dampier Port expansion. BHP’s tug Warang was hauled up for maintenance (pictured below). Hamersley Iron’s Comet will be next to try out Mermaid’s new asset.

The slipway is the nearest facility to the North West’s oil operations, which previously were serviced by either Fremantle, Darwin or Singapore.

On Tuesday, Tasmanian group Incat announced a two-year agreement with the US Army to deploy a 96-metre catamaran.

Worth about $50 million to Incat’s chartering business, the boat will be leased by the Tank Automotive and Armament Command.

TACOM will test out the high performance vehicle for a range of potential uses.

Incat was pipped in the race to do a deal with the US military earlier this month, when Austal announced it was supplying a 101m catamaran to the US Marines

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