Western Cape premier and Overberg executive mayor tour NSRI’s new world class search and rescue vessel destined for Hermanus
Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde and Overberg Executive Mayor, Andries Francken, visited Two Oceans Marine in Cape Town where the National Sea Rescue Institute’s (NSRI) third offshore rescue craft (ORC), destined for Station 17 Hermanus, is currently in production on Monday, 3 May 2021. NSRI CEO, Dr Cleeve Roberston and Two Oceans Marine CEO, Mark Delany conducted the tour, highlighting the new vessel’s enhanced search and rescue capabilities as well as the NSRI’s life saving investment into boatbuilding and the Western Cape maritime industry and blue economy. The new self-righting and purpose-built rescue vessel is designed for rescue operations in extreme conditions. At 14,8 m long and 4,8 m wide, it can be deployed on rescue missions as far as 50 nautical miles from land and has an expected lifespan of at least 40 years.
The NSRI’s third ORC will be the first search and rescue Offshore Rescue Craft built entirely in South Africa, by South Africans, creating employment and developing new skills.
The new world class rescue boat will begin its maiden voyage to Station 17, Hermanus later this year.
The area of operation for Station 17, Hermanus is currently from Quoin Point on the Pearly Beach coast to Mudge Point at Hawston but for the new offshore rescue craft, the NSRI’s Station 17 will see an increased area of operation from Hangklip to Witsand and Stilbaai area. This is due to the range and speed of the new world class search and rescue vessel.
The range from Hermanus to Hangklip is 23 nautical miles, from there the new ORC from Station 10, Simon’s Town will take over.
Premier Alan Winde said, “I am excited that the first search and rescue offshore rescue craft to be built entirely in South Africa will be manufactured in the Western Cape. This will contribute to our oceans economy and help create many jobs in this growing sector. This comes at a critical time for our country, as we look to recover from a very challenging year.”
“I also want to commend the NSRI for their consistent and invaluable efforts to safeguard our coast and keep residents and visitors safe in our waters. We thank you for all you have done and all that you will continue to do in the years ahead”, added Premier Winde.
“The NSRI already provides a world class rescue service to a range of industries within the Overberg community and with the new search and rescue boat and its capabilities, they will be able to extend this ‘safety net’ to new communities. I am extremely grateful to the NSRI for the invaluable rescue service that they provide to our community”, said Executive Mayor Andries Francken.
The NSRI is making a significant investment in a new generation of world class rescue vessels that will see them continue to deliver a world class rescue service, the only maritime rescue service operating in Southern African waters.
“To continue to deliver a world class rescue service in South Africa, the NSRI are investing in modern, high-tech rescue craft that will save even more lives on South African waters,” said Dr Cleeve Robertson, NSRI CEO.
The innovative French-designed will take the NSRI’s crew safety and marine rescue capability to a new level. It is envisaged that over R180m will be spent on nine ORCs over a 10-year period. “Our fleet replacement programme will see the entire NSRI all-weather search and rescue fleet replaced with the new vessel over about 10 years, allowing for increased operational capability,” said Robertson. “It is also our vision to support local people and local industries by having our rescue boats built in South Africa.”
This investment will see the first fully South African-built offshore search and rescue craft being put together by local hands. It is a boost for what was once a thriving South African boat-building industry.
Each vessel costs an estimated R20-million and represents a game-changing moment for saving lives, says the NSRI.
“We see this investment in the new rescue craft as a concrete response to the need to modernise our fleet to execute search and rescue missions including deep sea operations, medical evacuations and mass rescue incidents along South Africa’s coastline”, said Robertson.
Robertson also cited the additional impact on South Africa’s maritime economy. “Our new vessels will be a safety net for a range of industries such as tourism, fishing and water-based recreational industries. Not only will they improve safety but the fact that we are investing and assembling locally also presents an opportunity for the maritime boatbuilding industry.”
The NSRI partnered with South African-owned Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing to complete the manufacture of the second boat and all future vessels.
Mark Delany, managing director of Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing, says, “Building the new fleet of Class 1 offshore rescue craft for the NSRI is both an honour and an exciting project for us. We have always been proud supporters of the NSRI. Like any water user in South Africa, we understand that the NSRI provides an invaluable service in terms of saving lives and it is heart-warming to contribute towards that. The ORC project is especially significant because of the contribution to job creation and skills development in the boat building sector in the Cape and South Africa. The project puts us on the map as a company able to supply offshore rescue and pilot vessels globally. Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing supports at least 600 households when one takes our operations and supply chain into consideration and the NSRI is contributing towards that. Furthermore, we are proud to say that we have many women boat builders working on the ORC project, some with 15 to 30 years of boat building experience and some training as boat builders, another important contribution of the project.”
Investing in safety and longevity
The new vessel will be able to accommodate six volunteer rescuers on board, in shock mitigating seats to allow for high-speed operation in difficult sea conditions and has the ability to carry up to 23 survivors.
“Although most rescues are coastal and inshore, an increasing number of our operations require search and rescue vessels with extended range and advanced capability in safety and technology,” said Dr Robertson. “As the only maritime rescue service operating in Southern African waters, we needed to make this investment to ensure all round safety for crew and those being rescued.”
With crew and casualty safety a top priority, the new rescue boats have the latest electronic navigation and communication equipment. They are also self-righting, which provides increased safety for those on board.
Whilst it provides a critical service to the general public, the NSRI also supports South Africa’s national institutions to fulfil their mandates in maritime rescue. For example, all coastal airports must be supported by a maritime rescue service to comply with international aviation law. The NSRI is that partner in South Africa.
The NSRI is entirely funded by donations, receives limited Government support and is the only national organisation delivering coastal rescue services. “This is a huge investment for a non-profit organisation but it had to be done. The risk of lost lives, of our crews and those stranded at sea, is more than worth it. Our coastline is busy and the people who make our blue economy thrive deserve to be protected.”
“From a people point of view, this is also a vessel that will provide the best level of safety to our crews and enable us to deliver services in a really safe environment. Our commitment to our volunteer crew is to provide top class rescue boats that are suited to the severe conditions in which we operate.” said NSRI’s Dr Robertson.”
The NSRI is inviting all South Africans to assist in funding the new search and rescue vessels. They are appealing for donations from as many people as possible; that way they can ensure that their rescue craft, services and drowning prevention initiatives can continue to save lives on South African waters for years to come.
To donate to the ORC project, go to www.nsri.co.za
Source: National Sea Rescue Institute