Australian navy gets new ship

June 5, 2012 at 1:47 PM

CANBERRA, Australia, June 5 (UPI) -- Australia has officially taken possession of an Offshore Support Vessel from the Norwegian navy, defense officials reported.

The Skandi Bergen, which will be re-named Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield, will be used to transport troop and materiel for humanitarian missions such as disaster relief, Minister for Defense Stephen Smith and Minister for Defense Materiel Jason Clare said.

Possession of the vessel occurred in Norway. It is expected to arrive in Australia next month.

The ship weighs more than 7,000 tons. It is about 344 feet long and 68 feet wide. It features a helipad.

The ADV Ocean Shield will join the Australian navy's two amphibious ships, the HMAS Choules and HMAS Tobruk.

Australia said purchase of the ship will ensure disaster relief capability while the country awaits acquisition of two new Landing Helicopter Dock ships in a few years time.

The Defense Ministry said that after the first new LHD is introduced into service the Ocean Shield will be transferred to Customs and Border Protection.

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