Navy projects Biro and Hotel on schedule


Work on the SA Navy’s multi-mission inshore patrol vessels (MMIPVs) is, according to Armscor, on schedule with the first of three to be delivered by mid-2021.

That’s the word from Armscor Acting Group Executive: Corporate Support, Ndodomzi Mvambo, who added work on Project Hotel was “at an advanced stage”.

The contracts will see the SA Navy acquire three MMIPVs and a new hydrographic survey vessel (HSV). The MMIPV contract is in the hands of Damen Shipyards Cape Town while the HSV and ancillary work was awarded to Durban-based Southern African Shipyards.

The maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) will acquire a new HSV to replace the 50-year-old SAS Protea (A324). The project will also see the SA Navy acquire three survey motor boats (SMB) and a sea boat (SB) as well as upgrading of the SA Navy Hydrographic Office at Silver Mine as part of the total Project Hotel.

At concept, Project Biro would have seen the SA Navy acquire a total of six maritime patrol vessels – three inshore and three offshore – to boost its capabilities as part of Operation Phakisa, the national blue economy initiative launched by former president Jacob Zuma. Financial constraints saw the project cut down to the three inshore patrol vessels with the offshore platforms put on hold.

Mvambo said construction of the first MMIPV hull was at an advanced stage with the build on the second scheduled to start in the second quarter of this year.

“Project Biro is on schedule with the first vessel to be completed by mid-2021 and the third and final vessel set for delivery at the end of 2023 as per contract.

“Local companies in the communications, electronics, steel cutting and fabrication, auxiliary and control systems and navigation sectors among others are participating in the IPV and HSV contracts as sub-contractors,” he said, adding it was estimated more than 300 direct and over a thousand indirect jobs have and will be created by the two naval contracts.