Damen Shipyards Cape Town nearly finished third FCS 5009 multirole vessel


Damen Shipyards Cape Town is building a third FCS 5009 multirole vessel on stock and is marketing it to military, offshore, coast guard and logistics companies as well as the SA Navy. It will be completed early next year.

Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) told defenceWeb that the first Fast Crew Supply 5009 (FCS 5009) vessels was launched in February 2014 and the second in October 2014. DSCT began construction of the third FCS 5009 in October the following year and plans to deliver it at the end of April 2017.

Damen said the decision was made to go ahead with the third FCS 5009 stock vessel as series production is key to competitive pricing and results in low cost of ownership due to commonality.

Several African and non-African customers have shown interest in the FCS 5009 vessels, which are being marketed towards military, coast guard, logistics, private security and offshore supply companies. Even though Damen/DSCT build for stock, the design of the vessels means they are capable of accommodating a range of different features to match specific requirements.

At one stage Damen was offering its FCS 5009 to meet the inshore patrol vessel requirement for Project Biro, which is seeking three such vessels for the South African Navy. Sam Montsi, Chairman of DSCT, told defenceWeb that “we strongly believe that this platform is ideally suited for patrolling in Africa…it’s a fairly fast vessel, very fuel efficient, and has proven its effectiveness in a number of countries already including in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean and the Cape Verde in Africa”.

DSCT also sees a big market for anti-piracy vessels, especially in the East and West African regions. There is also huge demand for oil rig protection vessels – Damen Group has previously sold ten Sea Axe designs for counter-piracy missions in East Africa and West Africa.

The two FCS 5009s in stock at DSCT are 50 metres in length with a 9 metre beam. They are powered by four MTU V12 4000 M53 diesel engines rated at 1 840 kW each. They feature the innovative Damen Sea Axe bow for excellent seakeeping behaviour and reduced fuel consumption. 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).

DSCT launched the first FCS 5009 with a Reutech Sea Rogue system comprising a 20 mm cannon and two 12.7 mm machineguns, but the FCS 5009 can be equipped with a variety of weapons. It can receive a 20 mm remote controlled gun on the fore deck, and can be adapted to receive up to a 30 mm gun at that location. Aft of the wheelhouse there are two positions for manual or remote controlled guns up to a 12.7 mm.

In addition to weapons, the vessels can be armoured depending on customer requirements. One of the design requirements was that the vessels are compatible with almost any armour supplier of the customer’s choosing.

The vessels can be equipped with up to two davit systems for the launch and retrieval of daughter support craft. These daughter craft can be Damen Interceptor 1102s, RHIBs or Fast Rescue Craft or a combination of them. The aft multi mission deck can accommodate containerized operation modules. Extra accommodation modules can be fitted on the aft deck.

In terms of sensors, an electro-optical sensor can be fitted in the mast to provide day and night camera pictures and one of the navigation radars can be exchanged for a small surveillance radar. A Warship Electronic Chart Display and Information System (W-ECDIS) can be installed for picture compilation and surveillance/operations tasks.

DSCT told defenceWeb that this was the first time that a Sea Axe vessel was built in South Africa and the transfer of technology for the construction and successful sea trials are of great value. Although the vessels were built in South Africa, a number of capital items were imported. This includes main engines, gearboxes, propulsion sets, and a range of electronic and other equipment.

The construction of the vessels has been an opportunity to develop the skills of apprentices working at DSCT’s Apprenticeship Training Centre. A total of 35 apprentices had the chance to work on the construction of the vessels, on various tasks and levels. DSCT’s training centre is tasked to train apprentices from novice to red seal qualified artisans. This training period can run over four years, during which apprentices learn different disciplines of shipbuilding activities.

Damen has previously delivered a Stan Patrol 5009 class vessel to the Cape Verde Coast Guard, which commissioned it in January 2012.

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, and is currently manufacturing tugs on stock.