MARCH 2, 2016 — Cape Town, South Africa, shipbuilder Nautic Africa has signed a R347 million ($22 million) agreement with Citrans (Compagnie Ivoirienne des Transports) to build the first 18 ferries in a series of vessels for the Ivory Coast.
The deal forms part of a Presidential infrastructure project that aims to reduce urban congestion in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast.
Under phase one of the project, the first vessels are set for delivery by September 2016. The full scope of the final project is set to see delivery of between 42 and 50 vessels by 2020 and Nautic Africa will ramp up three production lines to meet Citrans's required delivery schedules.
Nautic Africa says that a focus on vessel stability, comfort and competitive costing has resulted in a twin-hulled design concept for the newbuilds.
Designed to operate in shallow inland waters, the 27 m long catamaran ferries are designed with a maximum water draft of just 1m and an air draft of 4 m.
The vessels have been designed in accordance with International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) rules and will be powered by fuel-efficient twin Volvo Penta D5 propulsion systems giving them operating speeds of up to 12 knots.
They 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.
Toilets and air conditioning are provided throughout the vessels.
Four boarding ramps provide quick and efficient access onto and off the vessel.
Each vessel is to be delivered with life saving safety equipment as well as a variety of alarms and sensors.
Nautic says the ferries will benefit from its 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 itself and Citrans.
"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, adding that an agreement with the in-country Volvo Penta distributor SMT to provide five-year maintenance and support infrastructure will ensure maximum efficiency and uptime of the ferry fleet.