South African ship repairers are being kept busy with a wide range of projects, including a major seven-month project from Mercy Ships
South Africa’s biggest private ship repair yard operator, Dormac Marine & Engineering, operates facilities along the South African coastline from Richards Bay to Wallis Bay. In total it provides five graving docks, two floating docks and three ship lifts, making it a major player within the region.
In recent times the company has increased docking capacity further at its Durban facility, on the back of increased demand after the acquisition of Dormac Dock 1 in 2016, which, it says, has proved to be “a resounding success.”
Dormac immediately set its sights on acquiring a suitable Dormac Dock 2, a goal which has recently been achieved. Consequently, it now has two fully operational floating docks, with adequate craneage, side by side supported by well-equipped workshops on site. Both docks have a lifting capacity of 8500tonnes and span 155m x 24.5m.
The yard has also recently started one of its biggest projects in the past few years. The hospital vessel Africa Mercy, operated by Mercy Ships, is now booked in for a seven-month repair and maintenance program that commenced in March this year and will include a range of repairs and upgrades. While the vessel is berthed alongside a repair quay, Dormac will strip, remove and upgrade accommodation, and undertake an IT upgrade on the vessel that will enhance the ship’s capabilities for its operating theatres.
Additionally, there will be a drydocking phase, where the ship will go into the Prince Edward Graving Dock to carry out underwater repairs and survey works in line with class requirements. The last phase, back alongside the repair quay, will be to further complete the IT and accommodation upgrades and related services. “Dormac will ensure that the technical specifications are met and exceeded, and that we deliver on the project program so that the vessel’s future operational commitments can be met,” comments Stephen Murray, general manager, Dormac Durban.
Dormac is a privately owned ship reoccur company with five Southern African branches in Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Saldanha Bay and Walvis Bay. Its main activities are the repair, maintenance and conversion of all types of marine vessels at any one of these locations or, anywhere else in Africa, through the offering of either riding squad or Shipyard-in-a-Box services.
Although a relative newcomer to the sector, as a longer established shipbuilder, the Ship Repair Division of Sandock Austral Shipyards (SAS) has firmly established itself as one of the major repairers in the port of Durban, offering a wide range of service including the blasting and priming of new steel plates and sections; grit and ultra high pressure water blasting; high pressure water washing; standard and silicone hull treatments and tank cleaning and the disposal of slops. SAS uses the National Port Authority’s facilities in conjunction with its own ship repair services and this includes the Prince Edward Graving Dock.
The company has enjoyed a busy start to the year with a wide range of vessel types being handled. Visitors over the first four months of 2023 have included the 2013-built bulk carrier, Golden Karoo; a 2011- built bunker, Themis, which required hull damage repairs; the tug Comarco Buzzard, for general repairs, steel work and tank cleaning; and the CMA CGM Africa, a container vessel for which the company carried out repairs to a total of nine GRP pipes onboard. In addition, SAS has welcomed Amber Lagoon, a bulk carrier built in 2015 which this April underwent cargo hold repairs at the New Pier in the Port of Durban. The SAS ship repair team and partners carried out a full blast and painting of five cargo holds while the vessel was alongside.