Nautic Africa, Ferry Render.

Cape Town shipbuilder, Nautic Africa, a Paramount Group company, has signed a significant agreement with Citrans to build the first ferries in a series of vessels for the Ivory Coast worth R347m. The deal forms part of a Presidential infrastructure project that aims to reduce urban congestion in Abidjan.

Phase one of the project, which will deliver 18 vessels by September 2016, highlights Nautic’s ability to design and build to the specific requirements of the international market. A focus on vessel stability, comfort and competitive costing has resulted in a twin-hulled design concept for the new builds.

Due to operate in shallow inland waters, the 27m long ferries are designed with a maximum water draft of just 1m and air draft of 4m. The catamaran-styled vessel design is guided by the International Association of Classification Societies’ (IACS) rules to keep passengers safe and comfortable.

With operating speeds of up to 12 knots, the ferries will be fitted with various seating arrangements in 200-seater and 240-seater versions. Configurations for economy as well as business class seating will see some of the vessels catering either for business or economy class completely or for a varying percentage of both.

Highlighting the importance of safety in vessels focused on passenger transport, Nautic confirms that each vessel is to be delivered with life saving safety equipment as well as a variety of alarms and sensors. Passenger comfort is ensured with toilets and air conditioning throughout the vessels. In addition, four boarding ramps provide quick and efficient access onto and off the vessel.

The ferries will benefit from Nautic’s commitment to building to the highest specifications using the latest technology for an end product that is efficient and robust to ensure an extended service life.

Nautic Africa’s CEO, James Fisher, believes that the company’s focus on vessel life cycle will be an advantage to the long-term partnership between themselves and transport provider in Cote d’Ivoire, Citrans.

Powered by fuel-efficient twin Volvo Penta D5 propulsion systems, the ferries will deliver operational effectiveness, reliability and cost efficiency.

“This is a critically important project for Abidjan that will contribute positively to the economic and social success in Cote d’Ivoire,” says Jacques Brummer, CEO of Southern Power Products, a Nautic Africa Group company. 

“Highlighting an agreement with the in-country Volvo Penta distributor to provide five-year maintenance and support infrastructure,” he says,

“Our agreement with SMT in Cote d’Ivoire will ensure maximum efficiency and uptime of the ferry fleet,” adds Brummer.

Committed to delivering a standard and uniform platform across the fleet of vessels due for delivery over a 21-month period, Nautic will ramp up three production lines to meet CITRANS’s required delivery schedules. The full scope of the final project is set to deliver between 42 and 50 vessels by 2020.