Special Forces boats, R200 million order book keep Veecraft busy


Paramount subsidiary Veecraft Marine has an order book of more than R200 million, and has delivered over 60 vessels in various classes since inception in 2002, with further expansion seeing it open new premises in Cape Town.

The company has delivered on more than R2 billion worth of contracts and is working on several projects at the moment, including 20 metre workboats for South Africa’s Special Forces, hydrographic motor boats for the South African Navy (which defenceWeb understands are for Project Hotel) and a 24 metre coastal reconnaissance workboat for a West African customer. The latter is powered by Volvo IPS Pod Drives – it is the first commercial maritime vessel to be powered by these drives on the continent.

For the Special Forces, Incat Crowther was tasked with the design of the monohull workboat. Its main deck features a forward deckhouse with wheelhouse above and a 25 square metre aft cargo deck able to accommodate a six metre ISO container and is also fitted with a 5 ton marine crane. A foldable dive platform is fitted aft of the transom. Below deck are two 7.5 cubic meter cargo holds and accommodation for twelve crew members.

With a service speed of 16 knots at a deadweight load of 20 tonnes, the vessel will be powered by two MAN D2862 LE431 marine engines rated at 588 kw (at 1800 rpm) driving Teignbridge fixed pitch propellers through ZF 2050 gearboxes.

Veecraft has previously supplied vessels to the South African Special Forces – in May 2017 it launched two workboats to support their activities on the Langebaan Lagoon. The vessels are 11 metres long, have a gross tonnage of 11.6 tonnes and are powered by a six cylinder MAN D2866 LXE40 main diesel engine developing between 190 and 279 kW, giving a speed of 12 knots. The boats will provide support for diving operations as well as the servicing of anchor buoys.

Veecraft Marine specialises in manufacturing steel and aluminium vessels for government and private clients around the globe. In 2014 it was acquired by Nautic Africa, part of the Paramount Group. Veecraft has previously supplied vessels to the South African Navy, such as Project Xena riverine patrol boats for the Maritime Reaction Squadron.

Veecraft earlier this month expanded its production capacity by moving to new premises in the Port of Cape Town, with a grand opening of the 2 500 square metre facilities on 7 August. The new location provides ease of access to the ocean, enabling the company to make significant cost and time savings in its logistical operations – the ship builder will no longer have to stop traffic to transport a boat when launching as well as disturbing surrounding infrastructure and replacing it again after the move.

CEO of Paramount Industrial Holdings, Alison Crooks said, “We are delighted to open these facilities here in Cape Town, playing our part in unlocking the benefits of the ‘Blue Ocean’ economy in-country and across the continent. This is an important milestone in the growth and development of Veecraft Marine, and indeed a celebration of the skills and experience of the leadership team and every employee in the company.

“From these premises, we look forward to meet the growing needs of our customers while strengthening Veecraft’s value proposition and forging greater opportunities for collaboration with customers from across the continent, providing our partners with world-class vessel design, incorporating the latest technologies and materials, training and long-term operational support.”

CEO of Paramount Maritime, James Fisher said, “It is a privilege to expand our market footprint and invest at home and in the home-grown capabilities of South Africa. This nation is a leader in maritime technologies with key research and development capabilities, and the people behind them representing a beacon of innovation for the continent at large.

“Facilities such as these showcase our commitment to the development of innovative African solutions to meet the challenges of the continent’s present-day. We take great pride in playing a leadership role in driving further vessel manufacturing, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) capabilities that together have proven to bolster job creation and economic growth”.