Armscor still “going through internal processes” for new naval platform tender adjudication


It’s been more than a year since tender submissions for projects Hotel and Biro closed and Armscor is still “going through internal processes for selection and consideration of affordability” for these vital additions to South Africa’s maritime development and protection initiative.

Project Hotel will see the SA Navy take into service a new hydrographic vessel to replace SAS Protea, now nearing 50 years of service, while Project Biro will add another six hulls to the fleet. Three are offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) with the other three inshore patrol vessels (IPVs).

The patrol vessels, in particular, are a vital part of the maritime protection and ocean governance aspects of Operation Phakisa’s blue economy sector. Shipbuilding is another part of the blue economy that will be given momentum with the announcement of preferred bidders for both projects. The building of seven new hulls, with 60% local content as stipulated by the Department of Trade and Industry for working vessels, will give local shipbuilders an opportunity to that show home-grown skills in this sector of industry can compete with the rest of the world.

At present Armscor specialists are sifting through the voluminous documentation that comprises the tender submissions for the two projects. The state’s defence and security acquisition agency has not yet revealed how many tenders were submitted for either the replacement hydrographic vessel or the six patrol vessels.

In May the value of maritime patrols was ably demonstrated when Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) patrol vessels, working in conjunction with the SA Navy, in the form of the supply and replenishment vessel SAS Drakensberg, stopped three foreign fishing vessels in South African waters. The vessels were escorted to the East London harbour and released after hefty fines totalling over R1.3 million had been imposed by local magistrates.

A fourth vessel was escorted to Cape Town harbour by one of the DAFF patrol vessels and also released after court appearances were made and fines paid. Fishing experts determined the over six thousand tons of squid aboard was not from South Africa territorial waters and the catch was not confiscated.

Armscor, via Lulu Mzili, General Manager: Marketing And Business Development, is keeping it cards close to the chest on both Hotel and Biro.

She said the launch dates for construction will be determined by finalisation of the “internal processes” and would not elaborate on pricing, in view of the recent and current strengthening of the rand against the US dollar.
“More information on projects Hotel and Biro will be made available once the process is complete,” she said, but deigned to give a date.