The South African shipbuilding industry is working on responding to tenders issued by Armscor for a new hydrographic vessel under Project Hotel and six new offshore and inshore patrol vessels under Project Biro.
No less than 12 shipyards, half of them South African, attended a four day long bidders’ conference in Simon’s Town last year as a precursor to submitting tenders to build a replacement for the 44-year-old hydrographic SAS Protea. In addition to building and fitting out the vessel, the successful tenderer will also be responsible for supplying a pair of inshore survey motorboats, integrated with the hydrographic vessel; a sea boat and a hangar-flight deck arrangement for a medium-sized maritime helicopter.
The Project Hotel tender closes on April 24, Lulu Mzili, Armscor’s General Manager: Marketing And Business Development, said.
Tenders for Project Biro, the supply of six patrol vessels (three inshore and three offshore) close on June 30 and follow a bidders’ conference that will take place from March 25 to 27 probably in Simon’s Town although no venue had been confirmed at the time of publication.
“Bidders’ conferences are held for most large or complex programmes, to allow prospective offerors to ask questions for clarity with regards to offers they will submit. In the cases of Projects Hotel and Biro attendance at bidder’s conferences are mandatory.
“What happens after the bidders’ conference is that prospective offerors are given time to complete their bids and submit them by the closing date.
“Both the tenders for Hotel and Biro have quite long closing periods, as these are complex programmes and offerors have to be given sufficient time to complete their bids. After the closing date of the offers, Armscor will start the process of evaluating the offers – firstly to determine who meets all the critical criteria and to then perform a detailed evaluation of the qualifying offers.
“Only once Armscor has completed the evaluation and potential prime contractors identified, will submissions go to a higher authority for approval,” she said.
The “higher authority” referred to is Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, and from the secretariat the recommendations to go the Defence Minister for the final approval.
No indication has as yet been given of the construction timeframe or when the new vessels will be delivered to the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
Project Biro has attracted a number of shipyards from around the world, such as France’s DCNS, which even brought its Gowind class OPV L’Adroit to Cape Town to demonstrate the type, which would be built by Paramount Naval Systems in Cape Town (local construction is one requirement for this project). Some of the other shipyards competing for Biro include Damen, Lurssen/South African Shipyards, Fincantieri, Austal, Abeking & Rasmussen/Veecraft Marine, Austal, Istanbul Shipyard, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Navantia.