Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) has launched the South African Navy (SAN)’s first multi-mission inshore patrol vessel (MMIPV).

The 600t vessel was transported from the DSCT shipyard to the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) synchrolift at the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront Basin.

South African arms procurement agency ARMSCOR is procuring a total of three MMIPVs for the SAN’s Project BIRO.

Project BIRO aims to develop maritime security and ensure that the country can respond effectively, quickly and cost-effectively to piracy and illegal fishing, among other maritime threats.

The multi-mission inshore patrol vessels are the ‘first Sea Axe vessels’ to operate in South Africa and will ‘augment’ maritime security.

In 2018, DSCT secured an order for the delivery of three inshore patrol vessels (IPVs) as part of Project Biro.

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The construction of the three MMIPVs is expected to see an investment of over one million man-hours of work.

Built according to the patented Damen Axe Bow design, the MMIPVs ensure ‘low resistance, high sustained speed in waves and superior sea keeping characteristics’ in complex conditions.

The MMIPV is based on the technology of Damen’s standardised range of patrol boats, which includes a 10m interceptor, 50m patrol vessels, and 140m frigates.

DSCT HR and transformation manager Eva Moloi said: “Our local skills transfer and Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) initiatives mean that we are not only contributing to the South African economy but ensuring that our local South African maritime market is less reliant on imports from international suppliers.

“DSCT fully supports the transfer of technology, inclusion of local companies in the execution projects, and stimulation of export transactions under the Defence Industrial Participation (DIP) programme, which particularly focuses on benefiting SMMEs, Military Veteran (MV) Owned Entities and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Compliant Entities.

“The partnerships formed during this project have led to the successful launch of the MMIPV. One can truly state that the MMIPVs have been built in South Africa, by South Africans for South Africa.”

DSCT laid the keel for the second of three MMIPVs last September.