18 Februari 2010
Collins class submarine (photo : Defencetalk)
The Australian government is seeking AUD5 million (USD4.4 million) in damages from state-owned shipbuilder ASC over the engine failure that occurred in one of the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) Collins-class submarines last year, an Australian Senate estimates committee has been told.
The committee, which met on 10 February, heard that the compensation being sought is the maximum available under the terms of a 15-year Collins-class support contract that ASC signed with the government in December 2003.
Responding to questions from opposition defence spokesman David Johnston, Kim Gillis, the programme manager for Collins-class submarines at the Defence Materiel Organisation, said the government is seeking the damages following the receipt of a report that was conducted into the engine failure in first-of-class HMAS Collins in October 2009.
The committee heard that this report "clearly indicated" that the failure was caused by the way in which bearings were removed, inspected and replaced in HMAS Collins.
Gillis said: "We have now received the independent report. I have formed a view on that. I have now put a proposition to ASC as the result of the cause and sought a claim against ASC for approximately AUD5 million to recompense the Commonwealth for that damage."
He said that ASC "is looking at their insurers and also looking at subcontractors that were involved in the [maintenance] activity on HMAS Collins ", and added: "They have not accepted the claim. We are still in negotiations with them."