Seeking a suitable emergency response vessel
MRA Online

Seeking a suitable emergency response vessel

Tender for ETV released

SOUTH AFRICA: The National Department of Transport (NDoT) has issued the long-awaited call for the provision of an emergency towing vessel (ETV) service that will operate on a 24/7 basis to ensure emergency response around the South African coastline and within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The tender, which was issued on 8 September, closes on 29 September, giving potential bidders only three weeks to respond to a bid that incorporates a list of vessel capabilities that includes:


  • The ability to reach at least 14 knots in Force 10 conditions.
  • Fire fighting capacity.
  • Rescue boats.
  • Pollution response capacity.
  • Search and rescue capacity.
  • Oil detecting radar.
  • Oil pollution storage capacity.
  • Redundant propulsion systems.
  • A minimum of 180-ton bollard pull.
  • An energy efficiency plan in line with shipping decarbonisation goals.

According to the list of requirements, the department is seeking an anchor handling tug with a closed stern that should not be older than 15 years. More points will be allocated to younger vessels, with the maximum of five points being allocated for vessels that are less than three years old.

The NDoT is looking to appoint a provider that demonstrates local capacity and that is stationed within the country. In addition, the vessel will need to be South African flagged and crewed by South Africans with a strong salvage background.

The document stipulates that submitted proposals should be commiserate of the need for cost saving mechanisms while still providing the maximum socio-economic benefit for South Africa in terms of job creation.

The document also calls for the service provider to provide details of fuel reduction and saving strategies and highlights the need to meet decarbonisation goals.

Of course, interested service providers will also have to outline a detailed pollution prevention response plan. It would, therefore, make sense that the successful bidder would need an understanding of the country’s existing incident management plans.

Two bids, which were subsequently cancelled, were issued in 2022 for separate response services on the East and West coasts respectively while another, more comprehensive, request for proposals was issued in 2019 for the supply of two locally-built tugs to take up the emergency response services.

The new tender is for a five-year contract.

The current emergency response contract is managed by AMSOL who recently introduced the anchor handling tug, the 10-year-old Umkhuseli to the coastline to replace the SA Amandla.



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