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Fact file: Lilian Ngoyi class environmental inshore patrol vessels

In addition to the fishery protection duties, the Lilian Ngoyi-class environmental inshore patrol vessels vessels are equipped to conduct oil spill countermeasure operations. The vessel is further equipped for Search-and-Rescue work, fire fighting and limited towing duties. All three ships will be certified for operations up to 200 nautical miles from the shore.

Vessels of the class:



Laid Down



Lilian Ngoyi

Farocean Marine

February 2003

September 27, 2004.

November 16, 2004.

Ruth First

Farocean Marine



May 18, 2005.

Victoria Mxenge

Farocean Marine



September 23, 2005.





Main contractor:

Damen Shipyards Group.


R280 million for the three.

Ship’s company:

13 crew, two fishery conservation officers.

Major dimensions & weights:

  • Displacement:

  • Growth potential:

  • Length:

  • Beam:

  • Draught:











Main machinery:

Two MTU 16V 4000 diesels, 2720kW each; 75kW transverse bow thruster; two 180kW generators.


  • Output, max (diesels):

  • Speed, max:

  • Range, miles:

  • Endurance:



25 knots.

3500nm @ 15 knots.

14 days.


  • Radars:

  • Sonar:

  • Other:

Navigation: Two Arpa radar, ECDIS chart system, differential GPS. nn. Full GMDSS communications system; Vistar 350 IR/low-light camera.




Not known

Expected life-time:

30 years


These Damen Stan Patrol 4708 craft were built under license by Farocean Marine in Cape Town. The vessels are fitted with a 7m RIB for inspection purposes, this having an inboard diesel fitted with a waterjet for propulsion.


Speaking at the commissioning of the last vessel, the Victoria Mxenge, Environmental Affairs & Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said all three were named for great South Africans. “Ruth First – journalist, academic, and pioneer of non-racialism; Lilian Ngoyi – leader and activist whose life embodied the struggle against injustice; and now today, 20 years after her murder in July 1985, Victoria Mxenge – nurse, lawyer, and vocal advocate for true justice.  Much as the lives of these … women brought an iron will to the South African journey to democracy, their vessels will be the guardians of our most valuable marine treasures.”1


Our 54 crew and 30 fishery inspectors aboard the four vessels will now be able to patrol a combined total of 1440 nautical miles a day when simultaneously deployed,” said the Minister.  “Even with a monthly deployment of only 20 seagoing days, this means that 28 800 nautical miles, or almost our entire fishing zone could be under the direct protection of the fleet.”


Paying tribute to the builders of the three inshore vessels, and announcing plans to further expand the fleet the Minister said:  “All three have been built right here in South Africa by Farocean Marine – which has not only seen Farocean expand its own workforce almost three-fold, but also injected new life into our local ship-building industry.”


In addition to the fishery protection duties, the vessels will also be equipped to conduct oil spill countermeasure operations. The vessel is further equipped for Search and Rescue work, fire fighting and limited towing duties. All three ships will be certified for operations up to 200 nautical miles from the shore. Although based in Cape Town, all three vessels will be deployed around the South Africa coastline and will do tours of duty at various ports for several months at a time.

They will monitor a wide variety of resources, including rock lobster, abalone, line fish, squid, etc. and will also carry out inspections of the demersal and pelagic fleets. In addition, they will be capable of operating throughout the SADC region and will play a significant role in regional compliance initiatives.





1 DEAT press release, September 23, 2005, Victoria Mxenge Protection Vessel Delivered,
R440m Environmental Fleet Now Ready to Protect SA Waters, http://www.environment.gov.za/NewsMedia/MedStat/2005Sep23/23092005_2.htm


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