A new, highly sophisticated Search and Rescue (SAR) vessel has been added to the National Sea Rescue Institute’s (NSRI) fleet.
In an official statement, the NSRI explains why new vessels are being introduced to the existing fleet of search and rescue boats.
“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.”
Dubbed Alick Rennie, the 14-metre vessel was built in France in a two-year-long building project. It was designed by naval architects Pantocarene and manufactured by Bernard Shipyard in France.
Catering to the rescue teams’ needs, Alick Rennie is equipped with the latest electronic navigation and communication equipment and is self-righting, which provides increased safety for crew members and rescued victims.
“This new fleet of 14-metre vessels will enable us to extend our range and survivor carrying capacity but will also mean that we need to modify our boat sheds to accommodate them,” the NSRI says in its statement.
Current Class 1 rescue boats will be replaced over time.
NSRI CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson says that a second vessel, named Donna Nicholas, is also arriving, although its building is still in progress. Its hull, deck and bulkheads have been built in France and the entire vessel will be completed in South Africa.
“It is our vision to support local people and local industries by having our rescue boats built in South Africa,” says Robertson.
Both vessels have been delivered to Cape Town and were welcomed at a ceremony held at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday.
As the only maritime rescue service currently operating in the country, the NSRI requires deep-sea search and rescue vessels which are technologically advanced and can endure harsh conditions at sea while rescue teams are on missions.
Roberston adds that Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing will play a pivotal role in producing local SAR vessels: “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.”
Alick Rennie will be stationed at Sea Rescue’s Station 5 in Durban.