NSRI Welcomes Their New Generation Search and Rescue Vessel

The official welcoming party of the National Sea Rescue Institute’s new class of Search and Rescue vessel took place at Quay 4 last Saturday. About 400 guests joined the Sea Rescue team to celebrate the new highly sophisticated rescue vessels inclusion in the volunteer organisation’s Search and Rescue fleet.

The NSRI is currently the only maritime rescue service operating in South African territorial waters and, although most rescues are coastal and inshore, an increasing number of these operations require search and rescue vessels with advanced capability in technology, and the ability to safely increase the endurance of the crew further out to sea.

Our fleet of 10m and 12m rescue vessels (known as Class 1 rescue vessels) are ready to be retired. 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.

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 fulfil this role is the 14m SAR (Search and Rescue) ORC.

After extensive research and development, the decision was made to have the first vessel, a 14m SAR ORC ‘Alick Rennie’ built to completion in France and our second vessel, the ‘Donna Nicholas’ built as a hull, deck and bulkheads in France, to be completed locally in South Africa. Both vessels were designed by naval architects Pantocarene and manufactured by Bernard Shipyard in France.

After a two year long build project, they were successfully delivered in Cape Town at no charge by our local partner, Safmarine.

‘It is our vision to support local people and local industries by having our rescue boats built in South Africa,’ says CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson.

“We are very proud to announce that Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing will partner with the NSRI to build the future generation of deep sea search and rescue fleet in Cape Town,” he said.

Mark Delany, Managing Director of Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing, says, “Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing has always been a proud supporter of the NSRI. We are excited to partner with the NSRI in building the new fleet of Search and Rescue vessels. 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.”

The SAR ORC ‘Alick Rennie’ has the latest electronic navigation and communication equipment and is self-righting, which will give increased safety for crew and those who we rescue. Building the new generation of ORC vessels comes at quite a price. Many of our supporters have bought into this long-term vision and have contributed towards this capital investment. The funding is ring-fenced and accrues interest in a project account. This new fleet of 14m vessels will enable us to extend our range and survivor carrying capacity, but will also mean that we need to modify our boatsheds to accommodate them.

The ‘Alick Rennie’ is destined for Sea Rescue’s Station 5 in Durban.

We would welcome as much new support as we can, so please contact Alison Smith, our Fundraising Manager – alison@searescue.org.za – if you would like to get involved in helping to fund our next generation of Sea Rescue SAR vessels.

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