An initiative that saw three South African companies work together to successfully deliver two world-class marine vessels has been hailed as exemplary by the Department of Trade and Industry’s (dti) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) recently delivered the second of two shoalbusters to marine solutions company, Smit-Amandla and De Beers Marine, which will be used to service diamond mining operations for De Beers.
Andre Share, head of government’s Operation Phakisa that aims to increase GDP growth to between R129bn and R177bn by the year 2033, said he was encouraged and fully supportive of local companies working together on common projects.
“Each of these companies brings with them their own expertise that can only strengthen the sector – in this case the boat and ship building sector – and enhance South Africa’s capacity and capability in respect of boat and ship building.
“Damen and Smit-Amandla are reputable companies in South Africa and this venture will contribute positively to the South African boat/ship building sector. This is also a demonstration of where complementarity could yield more positive results,” he said.
Share added that if the country can show it has capacity and capability for boat and ship building, this will certainly attract investors to do business in South Africa.
“The South African government has created an environment conducive to investment by addressing constraints to investment and through the provision of incentives provided further growth opportunities for the industry,” Share said.
The project was also regarded a milestone for the dti’s National Industrial Participation Programme (NIPP), which seeks to leverage economic benefits and support the development of South African industry by effectively utilising the instrument of government procurement.
The latest vessel was delivered last week, while the first started operations in Port Nolloth in December 2015.
The Shoalbuster range of multi-purpose, shallow draught workboats is designed for all types of operations in inland and coastal waters. The 30-metre 3009S has a bollard pull of 24.5 tonnes and is fitted with a crane with a lifting capacity of up to 1.7 tonnes, making it suitable for towage, buoy-laying, pushing and all-round support duties.
These new vessels will carry out supply and support work for the De Beers Group’s offshore diamond mining activities out of Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape. With the shallow waters of the port making it accessible only to vessels with draughts of 2.8 metres or less, the minimal draught of the Shoalbuster was an important factor in Smit-Amandla and De Beers Marine selecting the class.
Having successfully delivered the two quality vessels within agreed times and budgets; DSCT has gained experience, which positions it well to build these and similar vessels in the country.
Sam Montsi, chairperson of DSCT, said the economic development of South Africa was a shared responsibility between government and the private sector.
“It is time to make the shipbuilding industry work, not only for ourselves but for the future generations. The government has taken the lead in Operation Phakisa. It remains for us, in the private sector, to follow the lead, and ensure that indeed South African business is martialed to grow jobs and opportunities in our country.
“This country has capabilities; it has expertise; it has facilities; it has access to technologies to build even very sophisticated vessels here,” he said.
According to dti spokesperson Sidwell Medupe, the project was in line with Smit-Amandla’s NIPP commitments and it decided to contract a local shipbuilding company, DSCT, to build the vessels.
“South Africa enjoys a reputation for good quality and customisation, as well as competitive pricing of its multitudes of products and processes (e.g. hull construction),” he said.
At the naming ceremony of the second vessel in Cape Town last week Smit-Amandla Marine MD Paul Maclons said the significance of building these vessels in a South African Shipyard demonstrates the collective commitment to growing the local maritime industry.
“It is also a prime output of the NIPP – and we are very pleased that the dti has endorsed this new build programme,” said Maclons.