The US Navy and Department of Homeland Security have deemed Perth shipbuilder Austal’s American shipyard as a mission essential industry to remain open during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The government is working with the company to ensure the workforce is protected and continues to build and maintain USN warships.
An assistant secretary of the United States Navy, James F. Geurts said: “Given the mission essential functions you perform, while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the workforce, I cannot stress enough the importance of accomplishing this (shipbuilding) mission.”
Austal builds two classes of warships at its yard in Mobile, Alabama.
The first is the Independence class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) (pictured, at rear), a frigate-sized multi-mission aluminium trimaran – 19 have been ordered and 11 delivered.
The second is the Spearhead class Expeditionary Fast Transport (EFT) (pictured, at front), a logistics aluminium catamaran – 14 have been ordered and 11 delivered.
Austal’s US yards provide 77 per cent of the company’s revenue and 89 per cent of its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT).
Austal USA has restricted non-essential travel, and instituted facilities sanitisation, social-distancing, virtual meetings wherever possible and detailed reviews of recently travelled staff.
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