Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) has finished building two FCS 5009 Patrol vessels, the first of their type to be built in South Africa. Another vessel of the same class is already in operation with the Cape Verdean Coast Guard.
DSCT said it has prepared the vessels for outfitting with Reutech Sea Rogue weaponry; a system that includes a 20 mm cannon forward of the wheelhouse and two 12.7mm Browning guns fitted respectively port and starboard of the wheelhouse. The Sea Rogue can be operated by a hand controller and has an accurate target-tracking feature. Working with manufacturer Reutech, DSCT can install the weaponry in a matter of days.
“The FCS 5009 is deliverable in two formats. It can be either a fast crew supply ship or a security patrol vessel,” says DSCT Chairman Sam Montsi, explaining that, though the vessels are complete and ready to go, they still possess flexibility. DSCT is able to carry out the final conversion for either option within a matter of weeks. They are also the first in their class to be outfitted with MTU engines that offer a better power to weight ratio for increased speed. “What this shows is the flexibility of Damen vessels,” continued Montsi. “Even though we build for stock, the design of the vessels means they are capable of accommodating a range of different features to match specific requirements.”
“This continues our policy of building in Africa for Africa,” said Friso Visser, Sales Manager Africa for Damen, “and its makes us very proud to see our South African facility maintaining the Damen tradition of building technically advanced vessels to the highest standards. The versatile FCS 5009 Patrol boats have consistently shown themselves to be an ideal solution for patrolling an EEZ [Exclusive Economic Zone]. They have low operational costs, are very fuel efficient, have a competitive purchase price and, crucially, are easy to maintain. Overall, they provide a reasonable Total Cost of Ownership, making them attractive to countries that have a requirement to patrol an EEZ.”
The Stan Patrol 5009 vessel uses Damen’s innovative Axe Bow concept, which was developed by a team combining Damen Shipyards, Delft Technical University, the US Coast Guard, the Royal Netherlands Navy, and Maritime Research Institute of the Netherlands (MARIN). Rather than bouncing over waves, the Axe Bow design cuts through them, limiting speed degradation due to wind and waves. It causes less slamming, allows for higher acceleration and offers less resistance (10% less in flat water and 22% less in Sea State 4).
Cape Verde in January 2012 commissioned their 51 metre long Stan Patrol 5009 patrol vessel. The 5009 can carry 24 persons and has four engines (with four propellers), with a total power of 4 324 kW, for a speed of 23 to 35 knots.
Damen is offering the type to the South African Navy to meet its Project Biro requirement for three offshore and three inshore patrol vessels. Armscor issued tenders for the vessels in December 2014, with a closing date of June 30 this year. This will be followed by a period of evaluation before any announcement is made on the successful tenderer or tenderers.
DSCT also sees a big market for anti-piracy vessels, especially in the East African region. There is also huge demand for oil rig protection vessels – Damen has previously sold ten Sea Axe designs for counter-piracy missions in East Africa. These vessels are maintained in Cape Town. The shipyard has also been busy building a variety of vessels, including fisheries patrol vessels, tugs, dredgers, crew suppliers and pilot boats, including two tugs for the South African Navy.
Damen maintains stocks of many of the most popular models of its vessels, enabling the company to supply them to customers on a commercial off-the-shelf basis. DSCT continues to invest in its facilities. The latest addition is Shed 9; its largest production hall yet that will allow it to work on vessels of all types up to 90 metres in length with full protection from the weather, dust and other adverse environmental factors.
“The completion of the FCS 5009 Patrol boats and the opening of Shed 9 with its additional capabilities mark the start of a new phase for Damen Shipyards Cape Town and demonstrate the strength that comes with being a member of one of the world’s leading shipbuilding groups,” DSCT said.