Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Port of Ngqura has successfully launched the first ever locally manufactured aluminium vessel and according to the TNPA the move is set to unlock big opportunities for the South African boat building sector.
In the past Port Elizabeth-based boat builder, Legacy Marine, was unable to build larger vessels because the low bridges blocked the route to the Port of PE in the past. With the unveiling of the new Port of Ngqura as an alternative port, it contributed to the expansion of boat building in the Eastern Cape.
Gary Tait, General Manager – Sales of Legacy Marine, the company that built the vessel, says now that the port is available for new vessel launches, the company can build larger vessels, providing a boost to the boat building sector in the region.
“When we approached the port in 2017 as an alternative port from which to launch newly built vessels, they were very willing to assist us. Since then Legacy Marine has launched four new vessels at the port, with the last vessel being shipped to Angola in February,” he adds.
Supporting local manufacturers
Vuyani Ntsimango, Acting Deputy Harbour Master of the Port of Ngqura, says it was an honour and privilege for the Port of Ngqura to allow the berthing of these newly built vessels.
“We are open to new activities that make business sense. This way we have shown that we are not only focusing on big vessels and revenue, but also on smaller upcoming businesses.”
Four vessels launched
The four vessels consisted of two Passenger Transfer Vessels for an international cruise liner and two customised Dive Support Vessels for Stapem Offshore, based in France.
The two Passenger Transfer Vessels operate in Mozambique, while the Dive Support Vessels are designed to operate in the oil and gas production sector off the Angolan coastline.
The Dive Support Vessels were the latest two vessels tested and launched. They are designed to work alongside a mothership and carry out subsea inspections and repairs to the oil platforms. They are working dive stations from where daily underwater operations are directed.
These vessels are equipped with a 3-man air dive system, ROV (Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle), a subsea HP (High Pressure) washer and subsea welding capabilities. Due to their size and efficient use of space the vessels are extremely cost-effective and high-tech work platforms.