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Damen Shipyards Cape Town hosts MMIPV blessing ceremony

Posted on March 11, 2024

On March 1, 2024 Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) hosted the blessing ceremony for the third Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessel (MMIPV) to be delivered as part of Project Biro.

The event marked an important milestone in the construction lifecycle of the MMIPV and was attended by various dignitaries from the Department of Defence, ARMSCOR and the South African Navy.

DSCT, a joint venture between the Damen Shipyards Group based in the Netherlands and South Africa-based Montsi Investments, has been an operational, tax-paying entity in South Africa since 2007 when the Damen Group acquired the facilities and hired the personnel of Farocean Marine shipyard.

The blessing of the third MMIPV underscores the success of the partnership between DSCT, ARMSCOR, and the South African Navy, with their collaboration playing a crucial role in ensuring the success of Project Biro and the delivery of three state-of-the-art MMIPVs.

The first MMIPV, SAS King Sekhukhune I, was delivered in May 2022 to ARMSCOR with the SA Navy commissioning the second MMIPV, SAS King Shaka Zulu in October 2023.

“The ongoing partnership between ARMSCOR, the SA Navy and DSCT has significantly impacted maritime security and the shipbuilding industry. Together we have been able to empower small and medium enterprises and build three world-class vessels entirely in South Africa. We have also built, commissioned, trialled, and delivered two Damen designed 20-metre tugs modified for use by the SA Navy Submarines and two Damen designed 20-metre tugs for general use by the SA Navy.” says Sefale Montsi, Director at DSCT.

“We look forward to strengthening our relationships with both ARMSCOR and the SA Navy through our operational support services which will extend long after the handing over of the vessel.”

Since its inception, Project Biro has made significant contributions to job creation and the development of small and medium enterprises.

A total of 848 local vendors actively participated in the construction of the MMIPVs, showcasing the success of South Africa’s localisation and industrial participation policy. Throughout the project, DSCT estimates that more than one million man-hours of work were generated, reinforcing regional supply chains, and creating opportunities for skilled job seekers.

Over the years, this project has actively supported over 1,000 direct jobs and employed nearly 4,000 individuals indirectly.

Project Biro has also led to the transfer of skills from international experts to local professionals.

To date, 50 apprentices who have worked on Project Biro have graduated as artisans from the DSCT Skill Development Centre.

The skills that have been developed include welding, boiler making, outfitting, various electrical and automation skills, carpentry, painting, pipe fitting, plumbing, yard planning, manufacturing skills and logistic experience.

“The project has been a bridge connecting the expertise of the global maritime community with the talent and potential that exists right here in South Africa. It has not only strengthened DSCT’s capabilities but has also contributed to the development of a skilled workforce in our country. As a result of this skills development and growth DSCT can confidently say we are ready to build more ships for the South African Navy,” says Montsi.

Says Chief of the SA Navy, Vice Admiral Monde Lobese: “Today marks the blessing of the third Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessel, a testament to the vision and perseverance of Project Biro. While the acquisition of Offshore Patrol Vessels remains on hold, the necessity and importance of expanding our maritime capabilities cannot be overstated. These vessels will empower South Africa to conduct more focused and effective missions against threats such as illegal fishing and trafficking, not only within our maritime domain but also across the Southern African Development Community and beyond.”

The MMIPVs are designed to deliver a rapid response capability along South Africa’s coastline to counter piracy, illegal fishing, and smuggling operations. Their Sea Axe Hull design, patented by Damen, ensures exceptional seakeeping behaviour, reduced fuel consumption, and enhanced safety and comfort onboard.

“The successful acquisition of the third MMIPV, built entirely in South Africa, is testament to the significant capabilities that exist in our local maritime solutions sector. Partners like DSCT are integral to job creation, supply chain growth and economic growth in this sector. Today we can proudly say we have South African-built vessels that keep our waters safe,” says ARMSCOR.


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