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Former Minister for State Development
Sea Swap to boost local economy
19/01/2003 8:00 AM
State Development and Tourism Minister Clive Brown has welcomed the arrival of the first ship to take part in the Sea Swap program in Fremantle today, providing an economic boost for local businesses.
During its 10-day stay, the destroyer USS Fletcher will have maintenance work carried out by local companies while its 300-strong crew are flown back to the US to be replaced by a fresh crew.
“The economic reality is that more than $500,000 will be awarded in over 20 separate contracts to local companies for work including hull maintenance and deck recladding, with the maintenance to be completed over the next 10 days,” Mr Brown said.
“This demonstrates the clear economic benefits the Sea Swap program brings to Western Australia, and is acknowledgment of the WA marine industry’s world-class skills and facilities.”
The USS Fletcher arrives in Fremantle following recent operations in the Persian Gulf.
The Sea Swap arrangement, a result of an agreement between the Federal and United States Governments, will allow the US Navy to transfer crews without the need to return ships to the United States. This would normally take up to six weeks as a return trip, allowing a more efficient use of navy assets under the program.
“The decision will provide economic benefits to local suppliers and provide the potential for future maintenance and repair work," Mr Brown said.
“The economic benefits for WA will also include the replenishment of foodstuffs and other supplies, providing an additional injection of funds into the local economy.
“The Sea Swap initiative acknowledges the strong maritime industry capabilities of WA.
“The Government, in conjunction with industry, has been promoting the State’s maritime industry, including the capability of the soon to be completed Australian Marine Complex in Cockburn Sound.”
Early last year, Mr Brown headed a Government trade delegation to the United States which actively promoted the capabilities of the WA marine industry.
Under the subsequent agreement, the Federal Government indicated the Department of Defence would assist with aircraft loading and unloading and accommodation of crew.
“Perth was chosen for the initial pilot site over such places as Darwin and Singapore because of its clear strategic, geographical and commercial advantages,” Mr Brown said.
“I am also aware, as Tourism Minister, of the popularity of Perth as an R & R destination for the US Navy which may have also played a part in the decision.”
Each Sea Swap is estimated to involve the transfer of two crews totalling more than 600 personnel. Tourism figures indicate that the average US serviceperson is worth over $A200 a day to the local economy.
Since 1990, more than 164,000 US Navy service personnel have disembarked for rest & recreation in WA.
Since 1990, these US Navy personnel have injected more than $A107 million ($107,209,800) into the WA economy.
USN sailors spend on average approximately $A200 per day (includes accommodation, food and drink, gifts, hospitality).
The Abraham Lincoln carrier group spent a total of more than $A14million (about US$7.5million) in WA during its five-day Christmas visit, or equivalent to about US$1.5million per day.
All fresh food, vegetables and other supplies are bought locally.
Approximately 1,000 hotel rooms per night were booked out during the five-day Christmas visit by the Abraham Lincoln group.
Up to 12 charter vessels were hired from local companies to ferry crew and visitors to and from the Abraham Lincoln. Four boats were also contracted to provide a security perimeter around the carrier during its stay. All vessels operated 24 hours a day for the five-day visit. The estimated value of this work was approximately $A500,000.
On its return visit, five charter vessels and four boats have been chartered to provide similar services for the carrier’s 10-14 day working visit. The value of this visit to the local economy is estimated to be between $A50,000 to $70,000 ($5,000-$6,000 per day).
During its return visit, the flight deck of the Abraham Lincoln is being stripped and resealed (40,000 square feet area).
inister's Office - 9222 9699