Damen Shipyards has launched the Ngola Kiluange fishery inspection surveillance vessel for the Angolan Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries. Angola has another two fishery patrol vessels on order with Damen.
Damen announced the launch on February 1, but the actual launch of hull number 1190 took place on December 9. The vessel was launched at Damen’s Galati yard in Romania and, according to Angolan media, the ship is currently on its way to the southern African country.
The ship is 62 metres long and 10 metres wide and is able to cruise at a speed of 17 knots (32 km/h). It has capacity for 45 crewmembers.
Another vessel of this type is currently under construction at the Galati Shipyard, as is a smaller, 28 metre long Fishery Research Vessel (a Damen FRV 2810), also commissioned by the Angolan Ministry. The threefold order materialised under a collaboration between Damen Shipyards, the Dutch Government and ING Bank. The latter two co-financed the project.
The acquisition of these vessels represents a real opportunity for the Angolan fisheries ministry, Damen said. Fishing makes up 3% of Angola’s GNP and employs tens of thousands of people, making it vital to protect Angola’s 1 700 km long coast – last month two Chinese vessels were seized for illegally fishing off Angola.
The fishing sector is one of Angola’s largest economic sectors and its 610 500 square kilometre exclusive economic zone is a tempting target for illegal fishing operations. Under a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) regional programme the country collaborates with Namibia and South Africa to protect and survey its fishing grounds. However, apart from fisheries surveillance, the Ngola Kiluange can also be brought into action for salvaging and various other jobs.
The Angolan deal for fishery patrol vessels was struck under a currently discontinued programme of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called ORET, which supported sustainable investment in infrastructural projects in developing countries. The ORET programme regulated Dutch-Angolan co-operation within a clear institutional framework. Education, training and building financial reserves for maintenance and replacement were all compulsory parts of the deal. Damen Shipyards Cape Town is providing the necessary maintenance and training services.
It is estimated that some African countries lose as much as 40% of their fish resources to illegal fishing activities every year. Illegal fishing is a particularly big problem in Africa as many countries lack the financial and technical resources to effectively control their maritime resources.