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The Dockmaster

10 Years Of Shipbuilding - The Dockmaster

As one of only a handful of dockmasters in Australia qualified to launch a ship the size and scale of an Air Warfare Destroyer, Paul Bates has been an integral part of Australia’s shipbuilding industry for more than a decade. 

Growing up in a small Tasmanian town, Paul had an interest in the maritime industry from a young age, leading him to follow his father’s path to serve in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for more than 15 years. During this time, Paul’s role predominately centred around warfare navigation, sparking his interest in the broader shipbuilding industry.

“I have developed a huge sense of pride in what this country can do and our maritime capability, and from early in my Navy career I formed the view that Australia should have an indigenous shipbuilding capability,” said Paul.

It has now been more than ten years since Paul made the leap from the Navy into the defence industry, first joining the Defence Maritime Services before taking on the role of Operations Manager with Defence SA in 2009. Through this role, Paul became the dockmaster for the Osborne Naval Shipyard, with responsibility for the Common User Facility.

“I remember when I started working at the Common User Facility – it was basically a lump of concrete. Nothing really worked at that point, but it was the people and their skills and teamwork that brought it all together.

“Now, due to the people responsible for the operation and maintaining of the infrastructure, plant and equipment, we are able to deliver services to the AWD program, directly supporting the delivery of our air warfare destroyers to the Navy.”

In his role as the dockmaster, Paul has now launched two air warfare destroyers, with the third to launch next year. “To stand there as the dockmaster, I get to witness the entire experience - from seeing the first blocks arrive on the dry berth, to seeing the completed ship float off for the first time – having all that behind you and being a part of it; you can’t beat that,” he said.

Earlier this year, Paul transitioned into a new role as the General Manager Operations at the recently formed Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI). Paul said his passion for maritime is what motivates him to continue working in this industry.

“I enjoy being part of an industry that has a desire to make a difference, and I am confident that the existing Australian defence industry can deliver on the Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan,” said Paul. 

The Dockmaster

Paul Bates is The Dockmaster...
"As one of only a handful of dockmasters in Australia qualified to launch a ship the size and scale of an Air Warfare Destroyer, Paul Bates has been an integral part of Australia’s shipbuilding industry for more than a decade." http://www.ausawd.com/content.aspx?p=121