Six new ferries launched for Ivory Coast


Cape Town shipbuilder Nautic Africa celebrated a significant project milestone to deliver 19 vessels to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast this month, with the launch of six ferries for its client’s Presidential infrastructure project to help alleviate traffic congestion for the 4.7 million inhabitants of Abidjan.

The commission, worth R347 million, has seen Nautic’s in-house naval architecture and engineering team working closely with the client, Citrans, to ensure exacting specifications were met and operational challenges overcome.

“This collaboration helped us design and build a vessel specifically for our client, and ensured the project’s success,” said James Fisher, executive chairman of Nautic Africa, adding: “Our team has met the client’s brief by successfully designing entirely new vessels suited to the unique requirements.”

He says the Nautic team has designed and built vessels to help optimise Citrans’ ferry business by producing platforms that match the required seating capacities, range, speed, maintainability, ease of use and durability. “Running and operating a successful commercial ferry operation is about optimising your capital investment and overall revenues,” he explains.

“I am very proud of the Nautic team that has been such an integral part of the success of this project, delivering on time and exceeding our client’s expectations,” Fisher says.

Design specifications were well tested during sea trials, held in May, and witnessed by DGAMP, the Abidjan Maritime Authority. “The sea trial is part of the official acceptance of the vessel according to Flag State rules and regulations,” explains Stuart McVitty, operations manager at Nautic, adding that the aim is to ensure design criteria are met or exceeded.

The vessels delivered during May included two 27m ferries and four 15m ferries. The 27m vessels have a capacity of 200 and 140 people to cater for mixed class and business class carriage respectively. Two of the four 15m vessels feature enclosed canopies, while the remainder are open.

The launch of these six vessels follows the successful delivery of the first 27m economy class ferry in the build programme during December last year.

Although featuring an aluminium hull structure, the vessels include a composite component that saw Nautic establish a dedicated composite building department during 2016 that created 45 new jobs.

The vessels are all built to Lloyd’s Standards and include Garmin navigation suites as well as vessel-compatible Volvo engines. “Nautic has enjoyed a strong working relationship with its many suppliers, including Volvo Penta, to ensure the vessels’ performance and ongoing success,” adds McVitty.

Passenger safety is also of paramount concern and each vessel will be delivered with life-saving equipment as well as a variety of alarms and sensors.

“This ferry project is a great example of the African collaboration, African solutions built in Africa for Africa,” says Fisher, emphasising the company’s ability to use its unique insight into the challenges and specialised requirements of the African market.