SAVED! NSRI Welcomes the First of its New Fleet of Search and Rescue Boats

Two Oceans Marine to build more vessels to replace outdated local fleet

The first of several new generation National Sea Rescue Institute rescue vessels has been officially inducted into the local fleet, while a second vessel is currently being completed in a Cape Town shipyard.

The 14m self-righting Alick Rennie set sail for Durban late last month following an official welcoming ceremony at the V&A Waterfront attended by about 400 guests. Her arrival marks the completion of phase one in a lengthy process of replacing South Africa’s aging fleet of class one 10-12m search and rescue craft.

The new boat, built in France by Bernard Shipping over two years, boasts the latest electronic gadgetry and robust design features aimed at extending the NSRI’s rescue capabilities.

The NSRI has also confirmed the appointment of Cape Town’s Two Oceans Marine as their boatbuilding partner for phase two of their vessel recapitalization programme, which is already underway in Paarden Island. The move represents a major boost for the local boatbuilding sector and downstream suppliers. “Our fleet of 10m and 12m rescue vessels (known as Class 1 rescue vessels) are ready to be retired,” the NSRI said in a statement issued after the Cape Town launch function. “Our commitment to our volunteer crew is to provide top class rescue boats that are suited to the severe conditions in which we operate. The safety of our rescue crew and the people who we rescue is our priority,” the NSRI said.

“We therefore need to replace the current Class 1 rescue boats with craft that are well suited to the Search and Rescue missions including deep sea operations, medical evacuations and mass rescue incidents. The vessel that we have chosen to fulfill l this role is the 14m SAR (Search and Rescue) ORC,” the statement said.

Speaking at the Cape Town ceremony NSRI chief executive  said building the rescue boats in South Africa would bolster the local economy.

Two Oceans Marine managing director Mark Delany said his company had always been a proud supporter of the NSRI and its mission:  “We are excited to partner with the NSRI in building the new fleet of Search and Rescue vessels,” Delany said. “Not only does this support an organisation which provides an invaluable service to all South Africans who use the sea, but also, by building these vessels in South Africa, this project supports local industry and job creation. Furthermore, the project will develop skills in the boat building industry, most notably the specialisation of composite offshore search and rescue craft building.”

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