On 22 October 2021, Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) held a keel-laying for the third Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV) that DSCT is building for the South African Navy.
The MMIPV vessels will augment South Africa’s maritime security by enhancing the country’s capability to respond effectively, rapidly and cost-effectively to threats such as illegal trafficking and fishing.
The keel-laying ceremony is a maritime tradition that dates back to the time of wooden ships and is said to bring luck to the ship during construction and to the captain and crew during the vessel’s lifetime. The tradition involves placing a newly minted coin on the keel and building over it.
The coin laid at the DSCT event was a commemorative medal made in honour of the late President Nelson Mandela’s 1993 Nobel Peace Prize win.
The coin was placed on the keel by the Chief of the Navy (Vice Admiral Hlongwane). The keel bar was then lowered on top of the coin and welded into the structure – a privilege that went to Lucian Norman, from Atlantis, who is one of the top performing second-year apprentices at Damen’s training school.
The school has, since its inception in 2010, educated more than 200 young people previously from disadvantaged communities.
The acquisition strategy for this project included Commercial-Off–The-Shelf (COTS) equipment, as well as compliance with the dti 60% local content shipbuilding designation requirement, Defence Industrial Participation (DIP) and National Industrial Participation (NIP).
This ensured that ARMSCOR could maximise local participation and ensure that the vessels can be supported locally, thereby minimising the life cycle support costs.
The strategy further acted as an impetus for the shipyard to improve its local infrastructure and investment in human resources, creating jobs that are much needed to boost the South African economy and help reduce the high unemployment rate.