South Africa has improved its capability to protect marine resources by taking delivery of the Sarah Baartman - the largest and best equipped of their four new environmental protection vessels. Built under contract by Damen Shipyards, work on the $19 million vessel began in Romania in July 2003 and was continued in Vlissingen in the Netherlands, where final outfitting took place. 83 meters in length, the Sarah Baartman will carry 18 crew, 4 cadets and 7 fishery inspectors. With a range of 7500 nautical miles at 15 knots the vessel can remain at sea for up to 45 days at a time. The top speed is in excess of 20 knots.
The vessel, equipped with a helicopter deck and refuelling facilities, will be able to accommodate a fully laden Super Puma/Oryx helicopter, which will extend her range of sight by at least 20 times. The vessel also has hospital facilities and capacity for six 20-foot containers which can be loaded and discharged by the vessel's own crane, which will make her extremely useful in assisting with disaster relief, search and rescue, evacuations, fire fighting, pollution control (like oil spills), towing, and other emergency operations.