SADC aims to manufacture own patrol vessel

24 Feb 2016 15:20pm
SWAKOPMUND, 24 FEB (NAMPA) - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is considering manufacturing its own maritime patrol vessel to ease their operations.
Christopher Moshoeshoe, a captain in the Namibian Navy, told reporters on Wednesday the standing maritime committee made up of all SADC member states is discussing the idea for possible implementation.
Moshoeshoe was speaking on the sidelines of the official opening of a maritime conference, which is being attended by committee members of nine SADC countries at Swakopmund.
“We want to manufacture our own vessel that can be repaired and serviced anywhere in SADC.”
This is necessary because it gives the navies of SADC countries patrol freedom without worrying about how and where to repair the vessel when it breaks down.
He said it is also cheaper to have the parts in Africa than the current situation, where spare parts for Namibian patrol vessels are ordered from Brazil.
Patrol vessels are serviced in Walvis Bay.
“Unlike the case now, if we have our own vessel we can travel to Angola and service it there for instance, then when it goes to Tanzania and gets broken there it can be repaired just there.” Though he said SADC has the capacity to manufacture such a vessel, details on the type of vessel, size and budget are still under discussion.
Ghana is one of the countries in Africa with a factory that manufactures ships.
He pointed out that bringing together all navies from SADC member states to work together in ensuring the safety and security of the maritime areas in the region is a big achievement for the committee.
“We are still safe from piracy and no toxic waste has been dumped in our waters so far.”
The five-day conference, which started on Monday, is deliberating on ways to strengthen and ensure a safe, secure and peaceful regional maritime environment.
Namibian Navy Commander, Rear Admiral Peter Vilho, who is the chairperson of the standing committee, on Monday said the nations are looking up to the navy forces and the committee to come up with ways to protect the maritime.
He said threats such as the smuggling of drugs and other illegal substances, human trafficking and piracy must be closely monitored and prevented.
“The maritime environment is huge and diverse. We can only be successful if everyone puts their shoulder to the wheel,” said Vilho.
Namibia is expected to hand over the chairmanship to South Africa on Friday, when the conference ends that is being attended by representatives from Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Lesotho.