MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — The Royal Australian Navy’s two Kanimbla class amphibious ships have been sold to a US company for scrap, Minister for Defence Materiel Dr. Mike Kelly announced this week.
Southern Metals LLC, based in New Orleans, concluded the deal with the Australian government May 20, and it was made public by the Australian minister June 24. The selling price was undisclosed due to “commercial in confidence” considerations.
The two vessels, Kanimbla and Manoora, have been languishing in Sydney Harbour since being decommissioned in 2011. A Request for Tender was released to domestic and international markets for their disposal for recycling in June 2012. Earlier plans to sell the hulks as dive wrecks were abandoned following fears of public backlash.
“The disposal of Manoora and Kanimbla by sale has been completed in less than two years from the date the vessels were withdrawn from service, providing the best and most competitive net disposal cost to the commonwealth,” Kelly said.
Disposal of the two ships is subject to US government ITAR restrictions. They will be recycled in accordance with Australia’s environmental standards by 2014.
Kanimbla and Manoora are ex-US Navy Newport class LPDs, purchased in 1994 and locally modified for use by the Royal Australian Navy. In September 2010, the ships were the subject of an operational pause following age-related seaworthiness concerns. As a result, Manoora was prematurely decommissioned in May 2011 and Kanimbla in November of the same year.
Their amphibious capability is being replaced by existing vessels in the interim but will be filled from 2015 with the introduction of the RANs, two 27,000-ton Landing Helicopter Dock ships currently under construction.