Paramount Group company Paramount Maritime has launched the first of three next-generation Survey Motor Boats (SMBs) for the South African Navy in support of the modernisation and upgrade of South African Navy Hydrographic Office (SANHO) facilities and capabilities.
defenceWeb understands that the survey motor boats are part of Project Hotel, for the replacement of the SA Navy’s hydrographic survey vessel SAS Protea. In a presentation to parliament in May, Armscor said Project Hotel includes the delivery of two Survey Motor Boats and a Sea Boat as well as a third fully operational inshore survey motor boat, kept ashore in reserve.
Paramount Marine subsidiary Veecraft Marine is supplying the boats. In its May presentation, Armscor said construction of all three survey motor boats had commenced and were 75% complete, with delivery on schedule. Construction of the hull of the sea boat was 66% complete at the time.
Paramount on Tuesday said the 11 metre long Survey Motor Boat hosts two twin Volvo Penta duo-prop propellers, providing for greater fuel efficiency and effective and predictable handling alongside a Volvo Penta D3 joystick helm control system.
The vessel’s advanced survey equipment includes Multi-Beam and Single-Beam echo-sounders and Side-Scan Sonar and a Seabed Sampler to recover sample material from the sea-floor and underlying sub-strata for detailed analytical and testing purposes. The vessel capabilities allow for nearshore shallow water surveys in depths of up to 300 metres.
Training has additionally been provided for the Survey Motor Boat’s multifaceted survey systems.
A spokesperson of Veecraft Marine, stated: “Despite the operational challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the successful delivery of the first in a fleet of Survey Motor Boats is a testament to the ingenuity and steadfast dedication of our team. This boat is the most advanced survey vessel currently in production globally. We are privileged to continue to support the South African Navy in pioneering the innovative design, manufacture and delivery one of the most comprehensive, sophisticated survey vessels to be built entirely within South Africa”.
The Survey Motor Boat will now continue standard Harbour trials and Sea Acceptance testing before being delivered to the South African Navy for utilisation.
Sandock Austral Shipyard (formerly Southern African Shipyards) is meanwhile building the Protea’s replacement at its facilities in Durban. The first steel for the Vard Marine 9 105 design was cut in November 2018 and to date six out of ten sections of the vessel have been completed. The 95 metre long ice-strengthened vessel will have a 10 000 nautical mile range and top speed of 18 knots.
Project Hotel also includes the upgrading of current shore-based hydrographic office infrastructure at Silvermine. Armscor expects the project to be completed around August 2023 – the contractual completion date is November 2022.