The Chief of the Royal Austrialian Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, was at a Brisbane dockyard on Wednesday to inspect damage to a the Armidale Class Patrol Boat that caught fire around midday on Monday.
As gCaptain reported earlier this week, the HMAS Bundaberg was undergoing a period of routine maintenance by civilian contractors inside a shed at Aluminium Boats Australia (ABA) when the fire started onboard the ship on Monday. Two civilian contractors were treated for smoke inhalation, and all other civilian and Navy personnel were safely evacuated.
While at the site, Vice Admiral Barrett joined the ship’s current Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Phil Draper, and ABA Shipyard CEO, Andrew Lawson, in inspecting the ship and spoke with personnel from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service who fought for more than four hours to bring the fire under control.
“When you look at the damage caused by this fire, the first thing that comes to mind is how fortunate we are that there were no casualties. The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service did an outstanding job to get this fire under control, and we owe them our gratitude,” said Vice Admiral Barrett.
While acknowledging that damage to the ship was significant, Vice Admiral Barrett stopped short of discussing whether or not the vessel would be considered a total loss.
“We will not know the future of Bundaberg until an investigation is completed into the level of damage,” Barrett said.
Bundaberg is one of 14 patrol boats rotating through border protection operations. A full investigation is expected to be carried out to determine the cause of the fire.
Given that Bundaberg was undergoing an extended maintenance period, yesterday’s fire will cause no immediate effect to ongoing operations.