Cummins powers latest NSRI’s new Search and Rescue (SAR) vessel

The Donna Nicholas at speed

THE National Sea Rescue Institute’s (NSRI) second Offshore Rescue Craft has begun service at its home station in Simon’s Town.

The latest vessel, which was imported as “hull, deck and bulkheads”, was completed by Two Oceans Marine in Cape Town and features a Cummins QSC 8. 441 kW (592 Bhp) @ 2 800 r/min – with a ZF 370V gearbox.

“Named the Donna Nicholas, the R20 million vessel has been purposely designed in France by Pantocarene Naval Architects and built for the worst of the conditions the Cape has to offer”, said Station 10, Station Commander, Darren Zimmerman.

At 14.8 m long and 4.8 m wide the new self-righting vessel can be deployed on rescue missions as far as 50 nautical miles (over 92km) from land and has an expected lifespan of at least 40 years.

Two Oceans and Cummins commissioned the unit once upon floatation and shake down trials occurred during delivery voyage from Cape Town to Simons Town.

Cummins has offered a service level agreement to take care of the servicing and maintenance and its application engineer Gerhard Potgieter conducted classroom training and familiarisation on-board.

“Our fleet replacement programme will see the entire NSRI all-weather search and rescue fleet replaced with the new vessels over about 10 years, allowing for increased operational capability,” said NSRI CEO, Dr Cleeve Robertson.

The new world class search and rescue vessels will accommodate six volunteer rescuers on board, in shock mitigating seats to allow for high-speed operation in difficult sea conditions and has the ability to carry up to 23 survivors.

“Although most rescues are coastal and inshore, an increasing number of our operations require search and rescue vessels with extended range and advanced capability in safety and technology,” said Dr. Robertson. “As the only maritime rescue service operating in Southern African waters, we needed to make this investment to ensure all round safety for crew and those being rescued.”

Robertson also cited the additional impact on South Africa’s maritime economy. “Our new vessels will be a safety net for a range of industries such as tourism, fishing and water-based recreational industries. Not only will they improve safety, but the fact that we are investing and assembling locally also presents an opportunity for the maritime boatbuilding industry.”

The NSRI is entirely funded by donations, receives limited government support and is the only national organization delivering coastal rescue services. “This is a huge investment for a non-profit organisation, but it had to be done. The investment into lessening the risk of lost lives, of our crews and those stranded at sea, is more than worth it. Our coastline is busy, and the people who make our blue economy thrive deserve to be protected” he said.

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