Construction of new TNPA multipurpose vessel kicks off

14th May 2024 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Construction of new TNPA multipurpose vessel kicks off

The Mandela Peace Prize coin placed underneath the keel

A keel-laying ceremony has marked the beginning of construction of a new multipurpose vessel that will increase the marine fleet availability for Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in Cape Town.

As the first milestone in the history of a ship, the keel-laying ceremony marks the laying of the large beam around which the hull of the ship will be built.

In line with this tradition, a Mandela Peace Prize coin was placed underneath the keel – a tradition said to invite good fortune during construction and the lifecycle of the ship.

The new vessel is being designed, manufactured, assembled and commissioned by Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT), and will be delivered to TNPA by February next year.

Damen secured the contract in an open-tender process.

The company has experience with “low-cost maintenance vessels, ensuring optimal layout and maintainability”, notes TNPA in a statement.

The creation of new assets such as this vessel will enable economic activity in the region, and will further ensure smooth operation at the port, comments TNPA Western Region Ports operational performance and oversight regional manager captain Vernal Jones.

“The acquisition of this new vessel forms part of TNPA’s strategy to increase the efficiency of its marine fleet and replaces the pollution control vessel which has reached its operational lifespan.

“Over the past few years, the pollution control vessel was confined to collecting debris, small-scale dredging in rivers and performing maintenance work. The new vessel, however, has additional capabilities,” says Jones.

“DSCT is proud to be building the ship together with the local maritime industry,” notes DSCT MD Jos Govaarts.

“It creates and sustains jobs and allows us to continue training artisans on-the-job.”