Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has bulked up its dredging services fleet with the arrival of a new survey craft, the SS Sonar, at a cost of R1.5 million.
The vessel, which was built by a Durban-based black-owned company, forms part of TNPA’s ongoing fleet replacement programme of R2 billion.
It will be used “to conduct single beam hydrographic surveys around the ports as well as measuring the physical environment underwater for any potential impact on marine activities”, TNPA dredging services executive Carl Gabriel said.
Gabriel added that the Sonar would replace the Durban port’s existing survey craft, the Swift, which had reached the end of its operational life after 32 years of service.
He emphasised: “Critical to the success of dredging is the need for world-class vessels, especially as we continue to welcome an influx of container vessels larger than 10 000 TEUs.”
This has resulted in a threefold increase in demand to have berthing points dredged.