Ricochet News

Boost for local shipbuilding sector as new Transnet plough tug takes shape at PE Harbour

By Afikile Lugunya - Jan 19, 2018
Boost for local shipbuilding sector as new Transnet plough tug takes shape at PE Harbour

Construction of Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) new bed leveller or plough tug is underway and was marked by an official keel laying ceremony on Friday in Port Elizabeth.

The new vessel is being designed, manufactured, assembled, commissioned and delivered to TNPA’s Dredging Services division by shipbuilder FTC Engineering (Pty) Ltd, trading as Tide Marine Shipyard. The Black-, woman-owned family company, has a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBBEE) Level 1 status and scooped the contract through a competitive tender process in which the contractor satisfied all technical, B-BBEE and price evaluation criteria.

General Manager of Tide Marine Shipyard, Fabian Crocker, said: "This project will go a long way towards revitalising Nelson Mandela Bay’s boat building sector and we are grateful to Transnet for the trust they have placed in a smaller, but well-established player in the industry.

“All of the steel – around 200 tons – to be used in this project will be sourced from within South Africa. We will be creating up to 30 jobs in technical fields such as engineering, boilermaking and welding. We will also be upskilling local marine engineering students with on-site experience so that learnings from this project can continue to serve the industry even long after completion,” he said.

Naval architecture firm, Naval Africa, will provide technical expertise and quality assurance on the project to support the shipbuilder.

The as yet unnamed vessel is expected to be handed over to TNPA Dredging Services by October 2018. 

It will feature the latest global technology and will be able to sail from Port to Port, which is an added advantage over the old vessel it replaces.

According to Port Elizabeth Port Manager, Rajesh Dana, This is in line with Government’s Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy programme in which TNPA is a lead implementing agent.

Addressing the media, TNPA GM: Infrastructure & Port Planning, Hamilton Nxumalo said that ever since Operation Phakisa was introduced in 2014 opportunities and skills have been implemented around South Africa through the programme.

“Operation Phakisa is the leading parastatal in terms of the Phakisa programme and to date, we have created a lot of opportunities for South Africans when it comes to the Oceans Economy and it is not the first time that we come back to this port to show how much we have achieved as Transnet when it comes to the overall delivery.

“We are also involved in different projects in our various ports and this one is very important to us in terms of ensuring that we maintain our sea bed, especially where our ports are situated.

“We need this one in order to level certain areas where bigger places cannot, so it is very important to us that we develop this craft as soon as possible.

“Phakisa is about creating opportunities, job employment, training people and empowering them with skills, making opportunities available that were not available in the past and this is what we are trying to achieve with this programme,” Nxumalo said.

As part of the ceremony a Mandela Coin was placed underneath the keel of the plough tug as part of the tradition said to invite good fortune during construction and the life of the ship.

The coin selected was a half an ounce Gold Mandela Coin paying homage to the late former President, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, who was born and is buried in the Eastern Cape.

Apparently this was the first Nelson Mandela Bay coin used for this kind of event and is therefore extremely symbolic.

Image: LTR - TNPA Chief Operating Officer, Ms Phyllis Difeto; Executive Manager for TNPA Dredging Services, Mr Carl Gabriel; Director and Head of Supplier Development of Tide Marine Shipyard, Mrs Taneal Crocker; GM of Tide Marine Shipyard, Mr Fabian Crocker;  and TNPA GM: Infrastructure & Port Planning, Mr Hamilton Nxumalo.