The South African Maritime Safety Authority’s (SAMSA’s) Special Marine Projects Division will at the end of this month take over the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF’s) six patrol and research vessels.
The six vessels are currently under the management of Nautic South Africa, which was initially awarded a six-month interim contract by the DAFF in August 2013 to manage the return of the research and patrol vessels from the SA Navy back to the DAFF.
“Although DAFF had twice extended the initial six-month interim contract with Nautic South Africa, the contract could not be extended any further due to supply chain management regulations and while a decision on the long-term management tender for these vessels remains outstanding,” according to Eddie Noble, Project Director: Vessel Operations for Nautic South Africa.
He said the DAFF hopes to make a decision on the long-term management of the vessels during the next 12 months, while the vessels are under the management of SAMSA, a state-owned entity. “While Nautic South Africa is understandably disappointed that these vessels will no longer be under our management as of end October, we wish SAMSA every success with the continued operation of these vessels,” Noble said.
Nautic South Africa provided bunkering, crewing and logistic services and technical management for the fleet over the last 18 months, allowing the vessels to undertake patrol and research duties at sea. The South African Navy assisted with harbour facilities and services while Damen Shipyards assisted with vessel support – the company was responsible for maintenance and repair. Once Damen repaired the vessels and brought them back into Class, Nautic assumed control of the vessels for operations and routine maintenance.
“As a result of our efforts, the patrol vessels, Ruth First, Victoria Mxenge and Sarah Baartman have enjoyed successes in the various coastal patrols undertaken, and the research vessel Ellen Khuzwayo has conducted many valuable fisheries research surveys. The research vessel, Africana, has also undergone major repair and refurbishment and is due to return to operational duty early January 2015. The [inshore patrol vessel] Lilian Ngoyi is about to be fully commissioned.”