New boats to keep poachers at bay

2019-09-24 06:01
Officials from the City of Cape Town had fun during a test drive of the newly launched law enforcements boats.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Officials from the City of Cape Town had fun during a test drive of the newly launched law enforcements boats.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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In an attempt to help save and protect marine life, the City of Cape Town launched three new custom-designed boats on Wednesday 18 September.

After the launch, the multimillion-rand inflatable vessels underwent a two-hour-long test at the Ocean Power Boat Club in Green Point.

The marine and environmental law enforcement unit now has eight rubber ducks in their fleet of watercraft. These boats enhance the work of the marine and coastal law enforcement – which focuses on anti-poaching, lifesaving and other criminal activities along the coast.

The project had been in the pipeline since February this year when Stingray Marine manufacturers in Kraaifontein started designing the boats.

Mike Bradley, the managing director of Stingray, says the boats are built with high-tech materials according to the international guidelines for law enforcement and military vessels.

“This philosophy increases capability, durability, and survivability,” he says.

Due to quality designs of these boats, Bradley says unlike a normal boat, that takes about a week to build, these took them four months each to complete.

Selwyn de Wet, City’s marine principal officer, says having custom made boats aim to accommodate the nature of the work done by the marine staff, providing them with safer and faster models.

He says one of the key components in the new boats is the anti-burst that prevents the boat from sinking when stroked by sharp objects or shot at. It also has advanced anti-fire protection.

After a couple of rides, the City officials were satisfied with the quality and performances of the boat. They vowed their readiness to tackle the “critical” poaching problem and reducing the number of fatal incidents during peak season.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith says fighting poaching is critical, and with the new addition to their fleet of rubber ducks, this unit can further expand their reach. He says these boats are lighter, stealthier and can cut through “choppy” water and waves, making chasing down poachers easier.

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