Veecraft launches third Hotel survey motor boat

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Veecraft Marine has launched the third and final survey motor boat for the South African Navy’s Project Hotel hydrographic survey vessel.

The vessel was launched in Cape Town on 29 January, Veecraft said, adding that, “these vessels will enhance the capabilities and infrastructure of the South African Navy Hydrographic Office (SANHO) for many years to come.”

Veecraft, part of Paramount Group, is working with prime contractor Sandock Austral Shipyards which is building the new hydrographic survey vessel to replace the ageing SAS Protea. Veecraft worked with KD Marine Design, Southern Power, Volvo Penta, Humphree AB and Unique Group on the survey motor boats.

The second survey motor boat was launched on 16 November 2020 and the first in August last year.

Each survey motor boat is 11 metres long and propelled by twin Volvo Penta duo-prop propellers, providing for greater fuel efficiency and effectiveness and predictable handling alongside a Volvo Penta D3 joystick helm control system.

The vessel’s advanced survey equipment includes multi and single beam echo-sounders as well as side-scan sonar and a seabed sampler to recover material from the seafloor and underlying sub-strata for detailed analytical and testing purposes. The vessel capabilities allow for nearshore shallow water surveys in depths of up to 300 metres.

Two of the craft will be aboard the new hydrographic survey vessel, with a third ashore in reserve. The Project Hotel contract also includes a sea boat.

Project Hotel is seeing the modernisation and upgrade of SAN Hydrographic Officefacilities and capabilities. This includes upgrading current shore-based hydrographic office infrastructure at Silvermine. State arms acquisition agency Armscor expects the project to be completed around August 2023 – the contractual completion date is November 2022.

Sandock Austral Shipyard (formerly Southern African Shipyards) is building the Protea replacement at its facilities in Durban. The first steel for the Vard Marine 9 105 design was cut in November 2018 and to date most sections of the vessel have been completed. The 95 metre long ice-strengthened vessel will have a 10 000 nautical mile range and top speed of 18 knots.

This acquisition enables the SAN Hydrographic Service to continue providing critical hydrographic and oceanographic information to the maritime service to enhance operational capabilities of current and future maritime assets.