21 May 2018

Project provides opportunities for local people and boosts the country’s maritime sector

Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) is proud to have been awarded a second major contract from the South African Department of Defence.

After a public tender, DSCT received the order for three 62 metre, multi-mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPV) in December 2017. Not only is this an important contract for the wider development of South Africa’s shipbuilding and maritime industry, it also contributes to the country’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) programme and it highlights how Damen’s specialised companies work closely together, even though they are in different parts of the world.

Armscor, the acquisition agency for the South African Department of Defence, ordered the three IPVs – known as the Damen Stan Patrol (SPa) 6211 – as part of the government’s efforts to boost maritime security. These state-of-the-art vessels will enable the country to tackle threats such as illegal trafficking and fishing swiftly and more cost effectively.

DSCT received the latest contract exactly four years after an order to deliver vessels for a previous project for the South African Navy known as ‘Project Canter’. On this occasion the shipyard built two Damen ATD 2909 Tugs for the South African Navy.

Sea Axe hull

The new Inshore Patrol Vessels will be the first vessels with a Damen-patented, Sea Axe hull design to operate in South Africa. Jos Govaarts, Project Manager, says the Sea Axe offers exceptional seakeeping behaviour, which is particularly important in South African waters.

"The Damen SPa is a very successful series and the Damen SPa 5509, 4207, 5009 and 6211, are very well known amongst coastguards all over the world."

“These vessels can keep going in search and rescue operations whatever the conditions. The Sea Axe hull is designed for high speed, even when seas are challenging like they often are around the Cape of Good Hope!”

This important contract will mean that the Cape Town yard will be embarking on a recruitment campaign and is likely to employ another 100 people in various disciplines, from welding and pipe fitting to steel work.

dsct people at work (1)

Training school

Damen will be training many of the new employees at its own Training School, based at DSCT. Damen’s Technical Support Team will be working with the new recruits throughout the six-year project.

This IPV project also highlights Damen’s commitment to the South African Government’s ‘Operation Phakisa’ initiative, which aims to unlock the potential of the country’s maritime industry and develop the shipbuilding sector. This aims to provide people with opportunities and supports the country’s economy at the same time.

dsct people at work (2)

Local suppliers

As well as training and employing local people, Damen is supporting the government’s Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) programme. This programme encourages companies to support small and micro-businesses in the country, rather than using the traditional, international suppliers. Jos comments: “The government is making substantial investments in its maritime and shipbuilding industry and this initiative gives smaller companies opportunities and we are keen that they are optimally involved in this project.

"In turn, this will develop the shipbuilding industry further and it also enables DSCT to be an even more competitive yard. It has always been the aim of Damen Shipyards Group to become more active in South Africa via its Cape Town yard."

This latest order brings together the vast knowledge of the group. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS), which has naval roots dating back 140 years, will be assisting with the combat systems. “DSNS will share its experience and knowledge of combat system integration, being a centre of excellence for any defence requirements. It will be supporting and be a supplier to DSCT. Damen headquarters in the Netherlands will also be lending its support, particularly the team from the High Speed Craft product group. DSCT has the local knowledge and a longstanding relationship with the South African Navy dating back many years. They will all make their contribution to ensure the success of this complex project.”

Armscor is managing the whole project on behalf of the Department of Defence and it will have a team at DSCT, as will the South African Navy.

"There was a similar setup during the Canter project for the tugs. This was a very successful cooperation and we also did the Integrated Logistics Support as well. We learned how we could support each other and work together."

Long-term support

jos govaarts

This year DSCT is largely focusing on the design of the vessels, supported by Damen’s High Speed Craft department and DSNS. By the end of the year the detailed design will be ready for construction to start in 2019. The first IPV is due to be handed over in 2021, and the second and third in 2022 and 2023. Meanwhile, Damen is developing an integrated supply chain, optimising the use of local content and expertise. Jos stresses: “We aim to support the supplier after procurement. It is not just about the construction of the ship, but also logistical support, and we are developing a full maintenance plan.

"Damen will be training the crew in the operation of the vessels, but also in maintaining them. The full lifecycle costs are fully integrated into the design and construction. We will support our client and the suppliers throughout; responsibility doesn’t stop after delivery."

For Jos, the strength of the team is vital to the success of this multidisciplinary project. “We have established ONE team, even though they maybe on different continents. They are really great professionals, mixing and matching together.

We all work together, whether from Vlissingen and Gorinchem in the Netherlands or from Cape Town. This shows how we can be successful as the Damen Shipyards Group – it is the strength of our company!

dsct people at work (3)


Damen Shipyards Cape Town
Stan Patrol 6211
Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding
South African Department of Defence



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