Damen ready to supply vessels for Projects Hotel and Biro
Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) is ready and willing to supply offshore and inshore patrol vessels to the South African Navy under Project Biro, and believes it has the best solution for Project Hotel for a new hydrographic survey vessel. Sam Montsi, Chairman of DSCT, said his company is offering proven designs to Armscor for Projects Biro and Hotel, for three inshore and three offshore patrol vessels and a hydrographic survey vessel respectively. Although he wouldn’t be drawn out on which types were being offered, they will be common platforms that will bring economics of scale and reduce training costs due to common features. Montsi said using a common platform would also reduce the cost of spare parts and maintenance. He said DSCT would be benefitting from Dutch parent Damen Schelde, which specialises in naval vessels and has delivered vessels to the Dutch, United Kingdom, Italian and Vietnamese navies. Damen also delivered three Sigma frigates to the Moroccan navy in 2011 and 2012. Armscor has stipulated that 60% of the Biro and Hotel vessels be built in South Africa. Montsi said this could mean the contracts might be split, with different shipyards building the inshore and offshore patrol vessels as this would not prevent a common platform being acquired. He said DSCT doesn’t want to be selfish and is happy for other shipyards to have their share of the work. “We are very happy to cooperate with them and support them,” he told defenceWeb. Armscor is currently evaluating tenders for Biro (which closed in September last year) and Hotel (tenders closed in June last year). A number of companies are bidding for these projects, including Abeking & Rasmussen, which has partnered with DCD Marine. Southern African Shipyards (SAS) is which is offering Vard (formerly STX) designs for Biro. Paramount Naval Systems (Nautic Africa and Veecraft Marine) has partnered with Navantia for offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and with Austal for three inshore patrol vessels (IPVs). The IPV offer is based on the Cape Class in service with Australia while the OPV solution is based on Navantia’s Avante class.