KND has ordered nine boats from Veecraft Marine, which will deliver the vessels in April this year. This contract is a collaroration between KND, Veecraft and the Namibian Navy.
The nine vessels range between ten and 14 metres in length and include an eleven metre landing craft.
Andre van Niekerk, Managing Director of Veecraft Marine, told defenceWeb that the project started last year and involved collaboration with naval architects Kobus Naval Design (KND). “KND brings us orders and we give them the design,” van Niekerk said. KND has signed a contract to deliver 20 boats to the Namibian Navy, with production already underway.
van Niekerk said that Veecraft specialises in the construction of vessels for the oil and gas industry as well as the military, offering a range of eight to 45 metre long patrol boats, interceptors, tug boats, work boats and harbour vessels.
Veecraft has done work for the South African Navy, such as delivering five riverine patrol boats for the Marines. These 12 metre boats are powered by inboard diesel engines driving Hamilton water jets and have room for six special forces personnel. This project was completed in 2010.
Veecraft is also involved in Project Carol, the acquisition and procurement of small boats for the South African Navy. This initiative is at the initial stages and involves a variety of vessels below 60 metres in length.
In February last year it was announced that Navantia had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Veecraft to market Navantia’s Avante class offshore and inshore patrol vessels to the South African Navy as part of Project Biro.
Although Veecraft is based in South Africa, Van Niekerk said his company looks purely at the export market, notably Africa and the Middle East. He said that wherever there is oil and gas, there is insecurity and piracy and hence a need for patrol boats, protected supply boats, interceptors and other similar craft. For instance, Veecraft is currently manufacturing two 20 metre boats for Nigeria. These feature safe rooms or ‘citadels’ to protect their crew in case of attack. Although piracy around the world has dropped recently, van Niekerk said that with oil the way it is, the industry is in fact stronger than ever.