Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT), the South African subsidiary of Dutch shipbuilder Damen, launched the first of three multi mission inshore patrol vessels (MMIPV) for the South African Navy (SAN) on March 25.
Ordered by the South African arms procurement agency ARMSCOR, the vessels will augment South Africa’s maritime security by enhancing the country’s capability to respond to threats such as illegal trafficking and fishing. The three-vessel program is referred to as Project BIRO in South Africa.
“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,” DSCT project manager Ian Stewart said.
The engineering of the vessel started in 2018 and the keel was laid in February 2019.
The 600-ton vessel was transported from the DSCT shipyard on the evening of March 23 to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) synchrolift at the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront Basin. The move was conducted by Mammoet South Africa, using 48 axle lines of Self Propelled Mobile Transporters (SPMTs) to provide precision movement.
Mammoet project manager, Uzayr Karimulla, says while moving the vessel at night meant less impact on traffic, the reduction in light came with its own challenges. “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, the team waited for high tide to come in before moving it out of the V&A Basin via TNPA tugs towards the Elliot Bason. The testing of the ship systems will now start before the vessel is officially delivered to ARMSCOR/SAN, before the end of the year.
The MMIPVs are built according to Damen’s patented axe bow design, which ensures low resistance, high sustained speed in waves and superior sea keeping characteristics, according to the company.