Xtreme Projects and Sloane Marine introduce the Sloane Marine SML 1200

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - MAY 18, 2016

Port Elizabeth-based Xtreme Projects, together with Sloane Marine Limited, at the end of April, launched a new type vessel that is designed to fill a gap between big and small vessels working at sea.

The Sloane Marine SML 1200 is a 100% South African working platform built from marine-grade aluminium and is specifically designed to reduce weight while increasing strength, safety, payload and durability.

“After our work on the Costa Concordia in Italy, we felt there was a need for a boat that is versatile,” describes Kevin Kelly, the intrepid entrepreneur behind Xtreme Projects.

“So, after discussions between Captain Nick Sloane and myself, we approached the Legacy Marine Group, who are building the vessels for us in Port Elizabeth.

“The SLM 1200 is a much cheaper vessel to run than using a bigger vessel to do smaller things – and that was one of the challenges during our work on the Costa Concordia. We needed an ‘in-betweener’ vessel that could carry four or five people and materials – this vessel fills that gap.”

He said that the chief advantage of the SML 1200 over other vessels is that it can be disassembled and packed very quickly into ordinary containers and moved around on a truck.

“As an example, the Xtreme Projects Hercules was disassembled and loaded onto a container in Port Elizabeth; the next morning, it was in Cape Town fully assembled and on the water ready for the launch,” describes Kelly.

“When we needed to move it back, it took less than an hour to disassemble it and load it onto a container – getting it to Cape Town and back to Port Elizabeth, happened in less than five days.”

He said that as an added bonus, the SML 1200 can be fitted with a crane effectively transforming it into a sea-going workhorse.

“Our Hercules has done a lot of work for us carrying up to 10 tonnes in water and fuel etc. for two months straight and after getting off the water; we would check stress levels on the vessel’s structure and could not find anything. There is very low maintenance to this vessel.”

Kelly said the launch in Cape Town was attended by approximately 200 people representing marine agencies, shipping companies, ship builders, fishermen, oyster farmers and salvage companies based in South Africa, Europe, Asia and Africa. They have since received a number of enquiries.

He said that as a result, Legacy Marine had actually hired a number of new staff to enable them to meet demand, along with their other vessels.

“It’s an innovation that is, at the end of the day, creating job opportunities and promoting skills development as envisioned in government’s Operation Phakisa for the Ocean Economy,” describes Kelly.