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June 3, 2004

Australia buys Tsakos newbuild to convert to oiler

Australia's Department of Defence has purchased an A$50 million (about US$35 million) commercial tanker. It will be reconfigured and used to replace the Royal Australian Navy's ageing current auxiliary oiler, HMAS Westralia, Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill announced today.

The ship, currently named Delos, is a brand new double hulled, environmentally sustainable oil tanker. It was built in the Republic of Korea by the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Company as part of a four-ship build program for the Greek shipping company Tsakos Energy Navigation.

"At 176 meters long and 37,000 tonnes deadweight, the ship is similar in size to the Westralia," Senator Hill said.

"It will be modified so that it has the latest technology and equipment capable of refueling a range of Navy vessels, including the ANZAC and Guided Missile frigates and the new Air Warfare Destroyers that will enter into service from 2013."

"The modifications to the ship will be undertaken in Australia--creating new jobs and consolidating the high-tech and specialized skills of our naval shipbuilding and repair sector. The work will include fitting underway replenishment equipment, inclusion of naval command, control and communications systems, facilities for helicopter operations and accommodation upgrades. It is a testament to the skills and experience of Australian industry that this design and modification production work will be done here."

Senator Hill said the ship was selected from11 ships on the commercial market that were evaluated in a competitive process. In choosing the vessel, the department consulted with Teekay Shipping Australia, which provides ongoing technical and commercial assistance in the support of the Royal Australian Navy's in-service auxiliary ships.

Subject to final checks, Australia will take delivery of the ship in July. Following delivery, separate competitive contracts will be let for the design and the modification of the ship. Tenders for the design and logistics support package will be issued shortly with a preferred designer to be contracted later this year. Tenders for a repairer/builder to modify the ship will be issued early next year with a preferred repair/builder to be selected by mid 2005. The department is on track to deliver the replacement oiler capability in 2006.

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