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Friday, March 26, 2021 

Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) has launched the first of three Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV) procured by Armscor for the South African Navy (SAN).

The vessels will augment South Africa’s maritime security by enhancing the country’s capability to respond effectively, rapidly and cost-effectively to threats such as illegal trafficking and fishing.

DSCT Project Manager, Ian Stewart said: “This is the culmination of three years of hard work by a dedicated team of people. Ultimately, more than one million man-hours of work will be invested in the construction of the three MMIPVs.”

The 600t-plus vessel was transported from the DSCT shipyard to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) synchrolift, by Mammoet South Africa, using 48 axle lines of Self Propelled Mobile Transporters (SPMTs) to provide precision movement.  Although moving the vessel at night meant less impact on traffic, the reduction in light came with its own challenges.

Mammoet Project Manager, Uzayr Karimulla, said: “Through careful planning, close collaboration, and the teamwork between DSCT and Mammoet South Africa, our team made this move a success. We are very happy to have been part of the project, contributing to the advancement of safer waters in Southern Africa.”

Once the vessel was raised onto the synchrolift, at high tide it was moved out of the V&A Basin via TNPA tugs towards the Elliot Bason. Testing of ship systems will commence before the vessel will officially be delivered to ARMSCOR/SAN, before the end of the year. 

The MMIPVs are built according to the patented Damen Axe Bow design, which ensures low resistance, high sustained speed in waves and good sea keeping characteristics in the toughest conditions. As vertical accelerations are reduced significantly and bow slamming almost eliminated, the safety of the vessel and crew increases considerably, reducing operational risks.  The multi mission deck is used for supporting diving, search and rescue and anti-piracy operations. 

DSCT HR & Transformation Manager, Eva Moloi, said: "“Our local skills transfer and Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) initiatives mean that we are not only contributing to the South African economy but ensuring that our local South African maritime market is less reliant on imports from international suppliers. DSCT fully supports the transfer of technology, inclusion of local companies in the execution projects, and stimulation of export transactions under the Defence Industrial Participation (DIP) programme, which particularly focuses on benefiting SMMEs, Military Veteran (MV) Owned Entities and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Compliant Entities. The partnerships formed during this project have led to the successful launch of the MMIPV.  One can truly state that the MMIPVs have been built in South Africa, by South Africans for South Africa.”

The engineering of the vessel commenced in 2018 and the keel was laid in February 2019.  “Despite the COVID lockdown period, our local skills and partnerships, resilient production schedule and advanced planning capabilities of our Cape Town team, allowed the different subcontractors and teams to work on the vessel in a safe manner,” added Moloi.

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