Bay-class patrol boat

The Bay class is a class of eight armed patrol boats, built by Austal Ships and used by the Customs Marine Unit of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. They entered service during the late 1990s and early 2000s, and are primarily used on border protection duties.

Bay-class patrol boat Botany Bay underway in Darwin Harbour
Class overview
Name: Bay class
Builders: Austal Ships
In service: 1999 to present
Completed: 8
Active: 8
General characteristics
Type: Patrol boat
Displacement: 134 tons
Length: 38.2 m (125 ft)
Beam: 7.2 m (24 ft)
Draught: 2.4 m (7.9 ft)
  • 2 × MTU 16V 2000 M70 diesels
  • 1 VosperThornycroft bow thruster
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Range: 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km; 1,200 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 × Wiltrading Pursuit 640 vessels (USLC-2C Survey)[1]
Complement: 12 crew
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Radar:
  • Surface search: Racel Decca; E/F and I bands
  • Sonar:
  • Wesmar SS 390E dipping sonar
Armament: 1 × 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun

The class was due to be replaced by 2010, but a request for tender was not issued until June of that year. The availability of the Bay class ships decreased during the later years of their service life. After the Cape class began entering service, four of the Bays were offered to other forces; two each to the Sri Lankan Navy and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

Design and construction

Bay-class vessels have a displacement of 134 tons, are 38.2 metres (125 ft) long, have a beam of 7.2 metres (24 ft), and a draught of 2.4 metres (7.9 ft).[2] The propulsion system consists of two MTU 16V 2000 M70 diesel engines, supplemented by a VosperThornycroft bow thruster.[2] The patrol boats have a maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph), and a maximum range of 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km; 1,200 mi).[2] Each vessel is fitted with a 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun, and two Wiltrading Pursuit 640 vessels are carried for boarding operations.[1][2] The sensor suite consists of a Racal Decca surface search radar operating in the E/F and I bands, and a Wesmar SS 390E dipping sonar.[2] A Bay class vessel has a crew of 12.[2]

The Bay class was built by Austal Ships.[3] The eight ships were delivered over a period of 19 months, beginning in February 1999.[2]

The Bay-class design was used as the basis for the 14 larger Armidale-class patrol boats in use with the Royal Australian Navy,[4] and the 10 patrol boats used by the Yemen Navy.[5]

Operational history

The eight patrol boats are operated by the Customs Marine Unit of the Australian Customs Service.[3] They are primarily used to patrol Australia's Economic Exclusion Zone, although they also operate in support of other Australian law enforcement and defence agencies, including but not limited to the Australian Federal Police, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and the Royal Australian Navy.[3][6]

Bay-class vessels often operate on border protection duties under Border Protection Command.[7] The age of the vessels and resulting maintenance needs has seen a drop in the amount of time spent at sea, with other ships of the Customs Marine Unit forced to take up the slack.[7]

Foreign service

Two Bay-class patrol boats have been gifted to the Sri Lankan Navy.[8] Corio Bay was transferred on 30 March 2014,[9] and Hervey Bay was handed over on 3 June that year.[10] Originally renamed as SLNS Oshadi and SLNS Omaya,[9][10] the patrol boats were recommissioned on 9 July as SLNS Mihikatha and SLNS Rathnadeepa.[11]

Another two were offered to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in 2014.[12] Arnhem Bay was handed over on 10 February 2015, and was renamed KM Perwira.[13] Dame Roma Mitchell was transferred in May 2015,[14][13] and renamed KM Satria.


The Bay class were due to be replaced in 2010, but it was not until June of that year that a request for tender was issued for eight new, larger patrol boats.[7][15] Austal received the tender for eight 57.8 metres (190 ft) patrol boats on 12 August 2011.[16] Construction of the vessels, designated the Cape class, started in 2012 with the keel of the first boat being laid in June 2012,[17] and launched in January 2013.[18]

The new patrol boats entered service between March 2013 and September 2015 [19] , with the Bay class no longer in service with Australia.


ACV Roebuck Bay (ACV 10) laid up
ACV Holdfast Bay (ACV 20) laid up
ACV Botany Bay (ACV 30) laid up
ACV Hervey Bay (ACV 40) now SLNS Rathnadeepa
ACV Corio Bay (ACV 50) now SLNS Mihikatha
ACV Arnhem Bay (ACV 60) now KM Perwira
ACV Dame Roma Mitchell (ACV 70) now KM Satria
ACV Storm Bay (ACV 80)[2]


  1. Wiltrading Pursuit 640 Manual
  2. Saunders (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships, p. 37
  3. Australian Customs Service, Customs Maritime Unit
  4. Tenix, Tenix shortlisted for Patrol Boat tender, "[Defense Maritime Services, partnering with Austal] is offering a stretched version of the Austal designed Bay Class Patrol Boat that is currently in service with Australian Customs."
  5. Austal, Austal to Build 10 Naval Patrol Boats for Yemen, "The all-aluminium patrol boat design selected by Yemen is a slightly less complex version of Austal's 38 metre Bay Class design..."
  6. Dodd, 'Dad's navy' fills in for faulty ships, "[The Royal Australian Navy] is relying heavily on the Australian Customs Service to provide back-up with a loan of eight Bay-class boats."
  7. Parnell, Navy and Customs vessels cut back on border patrols
  8. "Sri Lanka to use Aussie gift boats to stop people smugglers". Canberra Times. 17 November 2013.
  9. Rahamat, Ridzwan (2 April 2014). "Sri Lankan Navy receives donated Australian patrol vessel". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  10. Rahmat, Ridzwan (4 June 2014). "Sri Lanka receives second donated Australian patrol vessel". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  11. Abeyrtne, Dharma Sri (10 July 2014). "President commissions SLNS Mihikatha and Rathnadeepa". Daily News. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  12. "Australia Intends To Provide Two Retired Patrol Boats To Malaysia By Mid-2015". BERNAMA. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  13. "First Of Two Bay Class Patrol Boats Gifted To Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency" (Press release). Austal. 27 March 2015. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  14. ACBPS Media (19 December 2014). "ACV Dame Roma Mitchell's last patrol saves six endangered turtles". Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  15. Australian Security Magazine, Govt to buy new border patrol vessels
  16. "Austal Awarded Cape Class Patrol Boat Contract". Media Releases. Austal. 12 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  17. "Cape Class Patrol Boats".
  18. Australian Associated Press, Austal looks to Asia and Middle East
  19. "Cape Class Patrol Boat (Australian Border Force)".



  • Saunders, Stephen (ed.) (2007). Jane's Fighting Ships. Jane's Fighting Ships (110th edition (2007-2008) ed.). Surrey: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2799-5.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Wiltrading. Wiltrading Pursuit 640 Manual.

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