Sea Rescue this week placed an order for a new Search and Rescue (SAR) vessel from Chantiers Navals Bernard shipyard in France.
The SAR ORC 140 is a 14,8m Search and Rescue Vessel driven by two 442kw diesel engines. She will have a top speed of 28 knots, a rescue crew complement of six and a range of 10 hours at max speed.
Our current fleet of 10-12m rescue craft is ageing. Most of these vessels were purchased from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and are now more than 30 years old. They have all been refitted to extend their lifespan but they are reaching the end of their life.
It has been a long process of research and investigation to find the right purpose built vessels. The ORC 140 was chosen because of their proven track record with over 155 of these vessels being built to date by various shipyards in Europe and Australia. They are used by the French volunteer sea rescue service, SNSM, and throughout the world as Pilot boats.
The first South African SAR ORC 140 will be built in France with an anticipated delivery date of December 2017 in Durban. A condition of purchase in our tender process for these vessels was that a subsequent eight vessels be built under license in South Africa.
Sea Rescue will be standardising on the SAR ORC 140 for our stations in major ports around the country with one built every two years.
These vessels come at quite a price and we are most grateful to our funders who have pledged their support and understand our need to plan for the future. More than half the funds for the first vessel have been secured.
We will post regular updates as the build on the first ORC 140 progresses on our social media channels and invite our supporters and crew to visit the vessel when she arrives in Durban late next year.