The Nautic Group on 18 November donated a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) to South African National Parks (SANParks) to commemorate the 30th birthday of the West Coast National Park, which will use it to combat poaching activity.
Nautic said the RHIB will also provide valuable patrol capacity for the upper end of the lagoon south of Saldana Bay where low water levels make it difficult for vessels to go, and provide an emergency response capability.
“Nautic Africa wishes to contribute in a meaningful way to the security of our coastline as well as the protection and sustainability of our natural resources,” said CEO James Fisher.
The four metre long RHIB is equipped to carry a maximum load of 500 kg and features a 50 hp motor. It can carry six people. Nautic said the boat is light (85 kg) and is easy to launch with four carrying handles and features eight foot-straps for additional safety of passengers on board especially in rough waters.
“The Nautic Group, through this donation, seeks to acknowledge SANParks as the custodian of the country’s indigenous fauna, flora, landscapes and associated cultural heritage,” the company said. It recently donated a RHIB to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) in Kleinbaai, Western Cape.
The 5.5 m Infanta RHIB, powered by two 40hp Mercury engines, was in late September handed over to APSS founder Wilfred Chivell by Chief executive of Nautic South Africa Keith Govender. The boat will assist APPS with rescue missions, as well as the safe release of rehabilitated birds to their natural habitat.
The APSS facility, opened in February this year by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom was built as a location to rehabilitate and care for diseased and injured seabirds, with the main focus being the endangered African penguin.
The Nautic Group is part of the Paramount Group and is made up of Nautic Africa, Nautic South Africa, Veecraft, Southern Power Products, Anchor Boat Shop and Paramount Naval Systems. Paramount Naval Systems is the naval side of the business. In the past two years, the Nautic Group’s staff complement has grown tenfold due to expansion in the South African and African markets.
At present Nautic has more than half a dozen vessels under construction at its facilities at Paarden Island in Cape Town, including six 35 metre Sentinel vessels, a couple of 27 metre ferries and an 11 and a 17 metre vessel. Another four 35 metre vessels have been completed. In August Nautic Africa delivered the two 35 metre Sentinels, Augustina II and Princess Ebikenie, to the Nigerian customer, after laying their keels in December 2014. Veecraft is busy with two 35 metre vessels and passenger landing boats.
At home, Nautic is busy producing five boarding boats for the South African Navy (SAN). Some of these will be delivered in December and the remainder in January next year. These form part of Project Carol, which has been in existence for several years, and aims to procure small boats less than 60 metres in length for the SA Navy in the form of boarding boats, diving boats, riverine patrol boats, ship sea boats, ferries, sailing dinghies, an ocean racing yacht and associated trailers.
Nautic is participating in Project Biro for three offshore and three inshore patrol vessels for the South African Navy. Paramount Naval Systems is teaming with Navantia and Austal to meet this requirement.
Nautic is also looking at expanding its vessel portfolio with larger vessels and pursuing other business models, particularly on the naval and commercial fronts, such as vessel refit and repair and vessel management. It already accumulated experience managing vessels for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and hopes to compete for this tender should it arise again.
At present Nautic is looking seriously at expanding in light of oil and gas exploration around South Africa and off the East and West coasts of the continent. Expansion into these areas would not just involve cargo and supply vessels but security vessels to support oil and gas rigs and other facilities, as maritime security has proven to be a challenge off West, and East, Africa.
Nautic Africa has begun construction of a new shipbuilding facility that will enable it to build more and bigger vessels in response to market demand for commercial vessels. The new facility will aim to be fully operational by early 2016 and Nautic is already taking orders for vessels to be built in the new facility. The new shipbuilding facility will accommodate the production of vessels up to 210 ton lightship weight or complete vessels of up to 42 metres.
Once completed, the new facility will provide Nautic with an additional 5 700 square metres of factory and 1 560 square metres of production support space, as well as 2 340 square metres of office space where the administrative teams, including those of its newly-acquired companies such as Veecraft, the Anchor Boat Shop and Southern Power, will be consolidated under one roof.