Project Biro and African marsec

Tenders for South African Navy.

Can Project Biro Help Africa to Overcome Its Maritime Security Challenges?

By Timothy Walker

A conference held on Project Biro in Simon’s Town last month marks an important step for improving South Africa’s maritime security. Project Biro refers to the South African Navy’s planned acquisition of six new patrol vessels.

The three-day bidder’s conference, organised by the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (ARMSCOR), attracted significant local and foreign shipbuilder attention. Interested shipyards will soon submit tenders to build three inshore patrol vessels (IPVs) and three offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). If fully implemented, Biro will result in the South African Navy acquiring these vessels by 2018.

Project Biro’s expanded capacity would then enable South Africa to mount cheaper, more focused and more effective missions and operations against the threats and challenges it encounters in its maritime domain, especially illegal fishing and trafficking. This improved capacity will be of immediate and immense national benefit. Of particular interest will be the possible impact on maritime security in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the rest of Africa and beyond.

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