Construction of Fishing Patrol Vessels begins in Cape Town

Feb 21, 2003
Author: Phindile Makwakwa: Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mohammed Valli Moosa, launched the construction of the first of three fishery and environmental protection vessels at a ceremony held in Cape Town today (Friday, 21 February 2003).

A majority black-owned company, Farocean Marine, was last year awarded a tender to build the three state-of-the-art patrol vessels, which it will do in partnership with Damen Shipyards of the Netherlands. Damen Shipyards will also build a fourth vessel.

Speaking at the event to launch both the construction of the vessels and Farocean Marine's refurbished shipyard, Minister Moosa said the fact that a majority black-owned company was actively involved in the construction of the three vessels was a success story for Black Economic Empowerment and demonstrated, once again, government's commitment to the empowerment of the previously marginalized in order to balance economic distribution in the country.

"This is indeed a milestone for South Africa's shipbuilding industry, opening previously closed doors and creating much-needed job opportunities for our people," he said, adding that he had been informed that the Farocean Marine contract would lead to the company doubling its workforce to 250 employees.

The construction constituted a major step in the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's programme to effectively manage South Africa's living marine resources and to increase its capacity to protect the marine environment from the effects of pollution at sea.

The launch takes place at a time when government has stepped up its measures to crack down on illegal fishing activities. These activities generate huge profits, much of which leave the country's shores without the knowledge of the Receiver of Revenue, thus exacerbating the financial cost to the economy.

"As substantial progress is achieved to ensure the long-term sustainability of our living marine resources in collaboration with other agencies such as the South African Police Services, the Scorpions, the Defence Force, the National Intelligence Agency and the Department of Justice, our fight to crack down on illegal fishing activities will intensify," Minister Moosa stressed.

Farocean Marine 's three vessels, which are 47 metres long, will be able to work off the inhospitable South African coastline and to remain at sea for periods of up to 14 days. Each vessel will carry two fishery conservation officers in addition to crew and will spend up to 220 days per year at sea. The vessels will also carry oil dispersant chemicals and oil spill countermeasure equipment.

The first vessel is due for delivery in December 2004, with the remaining two following at three-month intervals.

Damen Shipyards will build an 80 metre long offshore vessel, which will be capable of remaining at sea for up to 45 days while carrying seven fishery conservation officers. In addition to its fishery commitments, the 80 m vessel will carry 50,000 litres of dispersant and a range of oil spill countermeasure systems. Search and Rescue, fire fighting and towing facilities will further enhance its capabilities. A helicopter deck with refueling facilities for the support of craft as large as an Oryx helicopter have been incorporated. Delivery of this vessel is expected in December 2004.

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