Sandock Austral, Vard sign cooperation agreement


Durban’s Sandock Austral Shipyards (SAS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Vard Marine to deepen collaboration between the two companies.

Vard Marine, a division of Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, offers professional ship design, engineering, and shipbuilding technology services to its clients and with the recent signing of the MoU with SAS, will create opportunities for SAS to promote Vard Marine designs to clients, SAS said in a statement. It added that the MoU allows for SAS to compete with the confidence gained from leveraging Vard Marine’s extensive portfolio of existing designs and tailored design approach.

Derek Buxton, the Vice President for Business Development at Vard Marine, said “we have a track record of success working with Sandock Austral Shipyards and we very much look forward to continuing this collaboration. The two companies have shared values that include putting our clients first and delivering innovative, versatile and cost-effective solutions. This agreement positions us to be more responsive and better prepared to address the unique combination of mission needs for any of our naval and commercial clients, in the region and around the world.”

Vard Marine designed the new Project Hotel hydrographic survey vessel (HSV) that SAS is currently building for the South African Navy.

Charles Maher, the Head of Marketing and Sales at SAS, said that the agreement cements an already proven relationship with Vard Marine. He added that Vard Marine collaborated with SAS to develop the initial concept of the vessel and ensured that the design complied with Armscort tender requirements, helping SAS to win the tender. After contract award, Vard marine developed the classification design package for SAS.

Explaining what the recent understanding will mean for the two companies, Maher added: “Vard Marine has a significant range of skillsets and capabilities that allows development of innovative and efficient design solutions through both the tailoring of proven and clean sheet designs. Initially, we will be concentrating on their range of Naval and Defence vessels that we will help bring to new customers”.

“Sandock Austral Shipyards operates on a global scale with suppliers, service providers and clients. Building upon this relationship with such a prestigious Naval Architect design house, allows us to provide clients with state-of-the-art designs, with quick turnaround times based on many already proven and in service designs, reducing risk from our company, and allowing SAS to provide customers with a much higher confidence rate,” Maher said.

Sandock Austral is the largest black-owned shipyard in Africa. The larger Sandock Austral Group includes Sandock Austral Aerospace, Sandock Austral Shipyards, Sandock Austral Defence Engineering Systems and Torpedo South Africa. Capabilities cover weapons stations, missiles, radars, ship construction, and maritime surveillance aircraft, amongst others.

SanDock Austral will, in addition to promoting existing products and markets, be looking at developing new ones including in the commercial and industrial sectors such as energy with the emphasis on oil and gas. In July last year, Sandock Austral teamed up with Ghanaian defence contractor Petram Fortis to offer maritime security solutions to Ghana through the newly established joint venture Petram Sandock Maritime Systems.