South African Navy welcomes first Project BIRO multi-mission inshore patrol vessel

The South African Navy has taken delivery of the first of three multi-mission inshore patrol vessels (MMIPV) built by shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Cape Town.

The handover ceremony took place on 18 May at naval dockyard in Simon’s Town, Cape Town.

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The vessel is part of a Project BIRO, under which the government plans to “rejuvenate the South African Navy’s patrol capability in the protection of South Africa’s Maritime zones”.

The ship was christened at a ceremony held on 12 February 2021, while the launching took place in March the same year.

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Back in 2018, South African defence procurement agency Armscor awarded contracts for the construction of three 62-meter-long ships.

The IPVs will be the first vessels of a Damen Sea Axe design to operate in South Africa.

The straight-edged, axe shaped bow cuts through the water, minimising slamming for improved safety and comfort on board and significantly reduced fuel consumption and emissions, according to Damen.

In August 2020, the company held a keel-laying ceremony for the second unit, while the keel-laying for the third one took place last November.

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Photo: SA National Defence Force/Facebook