Container vessels APL Denver (R) and Wan Hai 301 are docked at Johor's Pasir Gudang Port after their collision in the waters between Malaysia and Singapore, January 4, 2017. Reuters/Edgar Su

Shipbuilder ASC will be sacking more than 100 people by the end of February. The development comes in the wake of the decision to wind down Air Warfare Destroyer project.

As many as 130 people will be losing their jobs by the end of February, ASC said. The move will be undertaken as part of progressive cuts, which will continue throughout this year. More people are expected to lose their jobs as the year progresses.

“The 130 positions will be made up of approximately 45 trade positions and 85 contract and other positions from across the welding, painting, pipe work, electricians and operator trade groups," ASC said in a statement, according to 9News.

According to The Advertiser, the shipbuilding company said it is venturing into opportunities in Offshore Patrol Vessel and Future Frigate projects. Due to the schedules of these projects, ASC said it was necessary to make some job cuts before future projects were started.

The sacked employees will be offered voluntary and non-voluntary redundancy packages, the shipbuilder said. “Today's announcement starts a minimum six week consultation process with the permanent workforce,” ASC said. “No workers will be departing the business today."

The move to cut jobs was met with criticism by NXT Senator Nick Xenophon. Expressing anger at the decision, Xenophon said, “This valley of death for SA shipbuilding jobs could have been avoided if the government planned back in 2013/14 to have a continuous build for these ships here in Adelaide, rather than them being built overseas.”

He added, “This stop-start sacking and then rehiring valuable tradespeople is not only harmful and soul-destroying, it costs taxpayers billions of dollars more through the inefficiencies involved.”