Southern African Shipyards has a proud and illustrious history in the South African
shipbuilding industry. The yard was established in 1960 by a ship building company called Barends.
In 1973 the yard was taken over by another ship building company called Sandock Austral to commence
a Naval Ship Building Program. During the 1980s Oceanco entered into an agreement with Dorbyl Marine
in Durban, whereby the basic construction of these vessels would be performed in South Africa under
the joint management control of Oceanco and Dorbyl. The yachts would then be transported to
Holland for final finishing and sea trials.
This arrangement continued until 1995 when Dorbyl announced that it was to close its shipbuilding
operations in the Durban area and that it would no longer be able to manufacture for Oceanco.
Southern African Shipyards (SAS) entered into negotiations with Dorbyl and Oceanco which resulted
in the purchase of 11 hectare shipyard from Dorbyl. An agreement was reached between Oceanco and SAS
whereby SAS would continue to manufacture the vessels for Oceanco on a dedicated supplier basis.
Timeline of the yard
1960 – Barends
1973 - Sandock-Austral
1987 - Dorbyl /Southern African Shipyards
1996 - Southern African Shipyards
Southern African Shipyards is located in Durban in the Bayhead area, close to the Salisbury
Island Naval base. It is a shipyard which was purpose built for the envisioned naval building
programme. Sandock-Austral completed the building of six Strikecraft, two Minehunters
and the replenishment ship, S.A.S. Drakensbergs.
During this period 14 vessels were constructed in Durban and transported to Holland for final
fit-out. Shipbuilding in South Africa has been ongoing for some 30 years albeit in a stop-start
fashion. This has resulted in a pool of expertise being created which has steadily gained
experience from the diversity of projects undertaken locally. At Southern African Shipyards,
we have many years of innovative and highly skilled Shipbuilding and Ship Repair history to
draw from. The CV's of our personnel reflect the experience base line in management and first
line supervision in ship repair. Behind each person is a wealth of project management and
hands-on ship repair and operational experience that is invaluable to our customers. The
experience is being passed on to the new employees of the Company by on the job training in
the fields of management, design, project management, safety and the full range of
shipbuilding disciplines. Training Initiative: Shipbuilding is traditionally very manpower
intensive with a broad band of specialized skills requirements. History has shown that
Shipbuilding Artisans are a desired commodity in related industries; therefore for the
Shipbuilding Industry to survive, training is essential. The introduction of the Skills
and Development Act has brought new challenges to the Shipbuilding Industry. SAS is
registered with SEIFSA and MERSETA. As the workload and available finances grow, the
Learnerships will be expended. SAS is committed to the training of 60 apprentices over
the next 5 years.
The yard normally has 200-400 persons in its employ and when required can operate on a dual
- shift build programme. The ship repair department is working 24/7 wherever required Southern
African Shipyards is a fully Black Empowered company. The Shipyard strives to be fully
compliant with the latest South African Labour legislation and is committed to Employment
Equity and the uplift of Previously Disadvantaged Individuals.