SAS Protea gains new underwater survey system


The SAS Protea, the South African Navy’s now-aged Hecla-class hydrographic vessel, has gained a new R38.7 million shallow water route survey system. Defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu says the system’s first task will be helping to secure next month’s soccer World Cup.

“To support SA’s hosting of the … World Cup, a Shallow Water Route Survey capability for the SA Navy was procured and established as a short term solution to a perceived shortfall in the Soccer World Cup 2010 security-planning milieu,” Sisulu told Parliament in her second annual defence budget vote address. “The new system will be used to conduct route surveys in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town harbours and contribute towards underwater security in the respective ports.
“The system uses new Multi Beam Echo Sounder technology which will provide a full seafloor search of the seabed and provides accurate and precise data during a Shallow Water Route Survey for the provision of safe navigation and underwater security,” Sisulu added.

The R37 225 653 contract (EMTM/2009/19) for the unidentified system was awarded to Underwater Surveys (Pty) Ltd located at the Steenberg Office Park near Tokai, Cape Town, on August 5 last year. A follow-on contract was awarded last week (May 13) for R1 485 231, taking the total contract value to R38 710 884.
(Update: The Military Technology journal reported in September 2010 the system comprises a Edge Tech 4200 side scan sonar system and a SB 424 towfish.)