Earlier this year, Damen Shipyards Cape Town (Hangar 3, Stand C3), an integral part of the worldwide network of shipyards within the Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group, hosted the keel-laying ceremony for the first of two Damen ATD (azimuth tractor drive) 2909 tugs, currently under construction for the South African Navy under the project name of Canter.
Following navy tradition, the keel-laying marks the ‘birth’ of the ship. Damen Shipyards Cape Town was awarded the Armscor contract to build the two ATD2909 tugs after a transparent tender process in keeping with the South African Navy’s values and codes of conduct.
Chairman Sam Montsi said: “[The contract award] speaks volumes to what this company can offer, not only to our country, but the continent of Africa.”
The ATD 2909 tug has a length of 29m, a beam of 9m and a bollard pull in excess of 40 tonnes. Equipped with twin Rolls-Royce rudder propellers, the vessels are said to have excellent manoeuvrability, high indirect towing forces and great stability. The ATD2909 is designed to perform towage and other maritime support services, both in port and in coastal waters.
The South African Navy required that the vessels constructed for Project Canter be an off-the- shelf product of proven design, because the navy did not want to experiment with unproven designs. Local content is in excess of 50 per cent.
The ATD2909 tugs being constructed in South Africa are sister vessels to four Damen tugs successfully servicing the Royal Navy. The first is set for completion in 16 months’ time, followed by the second in 24 months.
In line with its parent group’s philosophy, Damen Shipyards Cape Town also builds standardised vessels for stock. Currently, it is constructing two ‘heavy’ FCS 5009 patrol vessels, both of which will be equipped with Reutech Remote Sea Rogue guns and MTU engines. These flexible and spacious vessels have an internationally proven design based on the Damen Sea Axe bow, a hull shape that decreases slamming by up to 70 per cent, a spacious citadel with all-round visibility and room for two high-speed Interceptors. To give customers flexibility, the FCS 5009 patrol vessels can be purchased directly, leased or a rent-now-buy-later option is possible.
The first customer in Africa to take delivery of the FCS 5009 patrol vessel was the Cape Verdean Coast Guard, which uses it for search and rescue, salvage, patrol and anti-smuggling operations. A second vessel is under construction.
Delivered recently to the Angolan government from the Cape Town shipyard were two 62m fishery inspection surveillance vessels (FISV 6210) and a smaller fishery research vessel (FRV 2808).