Sunday, September 22, 2019
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Ferry Building Bonanza for Cape Town?


Six in eight months from composites manufacturer Oliver Dawson. More in the pipeline.

A plan to up-skill ex-militants from Nigeria has turned into a potential boat-building bonanza for Cape Town’s Oliver Dawson, who has thus far built five ferries for the Lagos State government and has potential orders for several more.

Composites manufacturing expert Dawson is currently managing his yard inside the Nautic Africa facility in Paarden Island where he employs around 30 people. He is also using the ferry project as a skills training initiative to develop students within the industry. SABBEX executive head Vanessa Davidson, who fielded the initial approach from a well-known Nigerian businessman eight years ago, facilitated the deal.

Mold construction began in April, and the first four boats were complete by the end of November – a rapid turnaround made possible by a dedicated team, Dawson told SABBEX.

“The original project was that we would train up ex-militants on how to build boats,” Dawson said.


“We have the ability to produce one of these boats every four to six weeks – at the moment the turnaround time is one every eight weeks,” he said.

Dawson, who is driving the project, said the initial phase was not without the usual administrative hiccups, which had caused some minor contractual delays. However these issues had been addressed and things were back on track.

The boats are a relatively lightweight, maneuverable, multi-purpose design, featuring double raking floors and a watertight bottom compartment to . . .

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