Durban-based Southern African Shipyards (SAS) has been selected for the design and construction of the South African Navy’s new hydrographic survey vessel, which will replace the SAS Protea.
The winning bid was based on the VARD 9 105 science vessel concept by the Canadian naval architecture and marine engineering company, Vard Marine. Vard Marine is a subsidiary of Italian shipbuilding major, Fincantieri.
According to the company, VARD 9 105 is a well-proven design that has been specifically tailored to South Africa’s unique requirements and designed to incorporate the latest hydrographic and oceanographic sensor suite.
Vard Marine was contracted in February this year to complete the Basic Design and support SAS through detailed design and construction of the VARD 9 105 science vessel under the South African Navy’s Project Hotel program.
The vessel configuration results in a PC7 ice strengthened vessel of 95M in length with approximately 7800kW propulsion power, a shafted controllable pitch propeller, and a maximum speed of 18 knots. The vessel has a 10,000 nm range with 44 days endurance; and will be manned by a total crew of 120 persons comprising ships’ crew and scientists.
The VARD 9 105 is an evolution from the Vard Marine designed hydrographic survey vessels HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise successfully delivered in 2002 to the UK Royal Navy. These vessels were designed to carry out a wide range of oceanographic and hydrographic surveys, as well as collect bathymetric data from the ocean.
A unique feature of Royal Navy vessels are how they utilizes azimuth thrusters, where the propellers are part of a swiveling pod, allowing for precise manouevring.