UAE gets ex-SAPS patrol boats


A security company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has bought the four patrol boats that were originally destined for the South African Police Service’s Sea Borderline Control Unit.

In 2007 the South African Police Service (SAPS) ordered the four 16 metre, 20 ton patrol boats from Cape Town-based Eraco Boat Builders, for delivery in 2010. However, the company was liquidated in February 2010 and the boats attached by the sheriff of the court. They were subsequently sold to KND Naval Design in Cape Town, which bought them at public auction for just R10 million (completed, they are valued at R35 million).

At the time of liquidation, the first vessel was approximately 80% complete; the second was 50% complete and the remaining two were each 10% complete.

After purchasing the patrol boats, KND Naval Design sold them on to a UAE based security company where the vessels are being completed (two are still under construction). According to Kobus Potgieter, CEO of KND Naval Design, the vessels will be put into service to guard the East African coast against piracy by the unnamed private security company. Sea trials began in Dubai, UAE, on December 13, 2012.

Had they entered SAPS service, the boats would have been deployed to Saldanha Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Richards Bay.
“The SAPS did not even bother to make sure that the vessels did not leave…South African shores and by now, they could have been the proud owners of great boats, which our country need so much,” said Potgieter. He said the SAPS wasted taxpayers’ money by not even acting to recover the R10 million deposit by registering as a creditor.

Late last month SAPA reported that the SAPS had initiated a legal investigation into the auctioning of the four vessels. “This matter is now in the legal process and for now I cannot say much on whether we lost or not,” police spokesman Lindela Mashigo said. It is still to be determined if the police will get their money back or not.

The vessels are designed to accommodate six permanent crewmembers for five days, as well as eight passengers. The type has a cruising speed of 21 knots and a top speed of more than 40 knots. The vessels are equipped with surveillance equipment that can monitor an area in high definition for approximately 40 kilometres.