Fact file: Lilian Ngoyi-class inshore environmental patrol vessel

Vessels of the class:                                           
Laid Down
Lilian Ngoyi
Farocean Marine
February 2003
September 27, 2004.
November 16, 2004.
Ruth First
Farocean Marine
May 18, 2005.
Victoria Mxenge
Farocean Marine
September 23, 2005.
Inshore Environmental Protection Vessel.
Main contractor:
Farocean Marine.
R280 million for the three.
Ship`s company:          
13 crew, two fishery conservation officers.
Major dimensions & weights:
·         Displacement:                
·         Growth potential:          
·         Length:                        
·         Beam:
·         Draught:
·         Not known.                        .
·         Not known.
·         46.80m.
·         8.11m.
·         2.9m.
Not known.
Main machinery:               
Two MTU 16V4000 diesels, 2720kW each;
one 75kW transverse bow thruster;
two 180kW generators.
·         Output, max (diesels):     
·         Speed, max:                
·         Range, miles:               
·         Endurance:                  
·         5440 bkW @ 2100 rpm.
·         23.8 knots on trials.
·         3500nm @ 15 knots.
·         14 days.
·         Radars:      
o        Navigation:
·         Sonar:                     
·         Other:        
·         Two Furuno FR-2127.
·         Furuno FE700 echo sounder.  
·         Full GMDSS communications system; Vistar 350 IR/low-light camera; Furuno FEA-2107 ECDIS chart system, Leica MX-420 BRIM GPS plotter; differential GPS; Raytheon Reflecta magnetic compass; IXSEA Octans gyro compass.   
·         Missiles:       
·         Guns:        
·         Torpedoes:           
·         Helicopters:          
·         None.
·         None.
·         None.
·         None.
Expected life-time:       
Not known.
These Damen Stan Patrol 4708 craft were built under license by Farocean Marine in Cape Town. The vessels are fitted with a 7m RIB for inspection purposes, this having an inboard diesel fitted with a waterjet for propulsion.  
Speaking at the commissioning of the last vessel, the Victoria Mxenge, Environmental Affairs & Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said all three were named for great South Africans. “Ruth First – journalist, academic, and pioneer of non-racialism; Lilian Ngoyi – leader and activist whose life embodied the struggle against injustice; and now today, 20 years after her murder in July 1985, Victoria Mxenge – nurse, lawyer, and vocal advocate for true justice.  Much as the lives of these … women brought an iron will to the South African journey to democracy, their vessels will be the guardians of our most valuable marine treasures.”[1]
Speaking about the many successes already achieved by the first three[2]vessels in the fleet, the Minister added:  “Her three sister-vessels have not been idle waiting for the Victoria Mxenge to take her place – they have already made their presence known, travelling a combined distance of more than 41 000 nautical miles since November last year.  The three have also been responsible for 32 arrests; more than 100 inspections; R24 000 in admissions of guilt; an estimated R1,5 million in confiscated vessels and equipment; and more than R1,5 million in illegal fishing resources recovered.  Our off-shore flagship, the Sarah Baartman, has also successfully completed her first bilateral and trilateral SADC patrols – having ventured as far north as the waters of Tanzania.”
“Our 54 crew and 30 fishery inspectors aboard the four vessels will now be able to patrol a combined total of 1440 nautical miles a day when simultaneously deployed,” said the Minister.  “Even with a monthly deployment of only 20 seagoing days, this means that 28 800 nautical miles, or almost our entire fishing zone could be under the direct protection of the fleet.”
But the reality may be somewhat different. Media reports from 2006 to 2008 paint a worrying picture of under-usage. The Cape Argus in August reported that the larger Sarah Baartman has spent a considerable time since August 2005 doing commercial work and had critics ask the DEAT to brief the public on the use of these ships. Other reports have also suggested financial mismanagement in the DEAT division running the ships. 
Briefing Parliament in November 2006, DEAT DG Pam Yako said 60% of the vessels` running costs were fuel-related. The department`s Chief Financial Officer said that 83c of every Rand in the Marine Living Resources Fund was being spent on the vessels. The official said the cost of fuel had gone up from $310 per ton in July 2003 to $680 in 2006. Yako added that the fleet cost the public R220 000 per day per vessel in port and R690 000 per day per vessel at sea.

[1] DEAT press release, September 23, 2005, Victoria Mxenge Protection Vessel Delivered,

R440m Environmental Fleet Now Ready to Protect SA Waters, http://www.environment.gov.za/NewsMedia/MedStat/2005Sep23/23092005_2.htm

[2] Included here is the Sarah Baartman.