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SAS Protea Survey Ship

SAS PROTEA was laid down 20 July 1970 and launched on 14 July 1971. She is equipped for hydrographic survey with facilities for the collection of oceanographical data for which she is fitted with special communications equipment. She also carries a Polaris survey system, survey launches and facilities for helicopter operations. Her hull has also been strengthened for navigation in ice. She is also fitted with a passive roll stabilisation system. New engines were installed during a major refit in 1995-96. SAS PROTEA carries EGNG sidescan sonar and two survey boats.

The ship can carry up to seven scientists on board and is also fitted with a hospital, library, canteen, laundry and electrical and shipwright workshops. A sewerage treatment plant is used to prevent pollution and the contamination of samples. Apart from her survey role, the SAS PROTEA has proven to be an extremely versatile vessel. She has carried out various assistance operations earning her the nickname 'White Lady'.

During her work, she has visited many out of the way places such as the South Shetland Islands, Kergeulen, the Marion and Prince Edward islands and the Antarctic. She has shown the South African flag in many countries and was the first SA Navy vessel to sail around Cape Horn where she called at Ushuaia, the southernmost inhabited town in the world.

The SAS PROTEA's history dates back to 11 January 1922 when HMS CROZIER arrived in Simon's Town. She was renamed HMSAS PROTEA - the first in the line of four SA Navy hydrographic survey vessels of that name. The present SAS PROTEA was built by the Yarrows shipyard in Scotland and is based on the British Royal Navy's HECLA Class hydrographic survey vessel. Launched on 4 July 1971 and commissioned on 23 May 1972, she entered Simon's Town for the first time on 14 July 1972.

Name No Builders Launched Commissioned
SAS PROTEA A324 Yarrow (Shipbuilders) Ltd 14 July 1971 23 May 1972


Displacement, tons: 2,733 full load
Dimensions, feet (metres): 260,1 x 49,1 x 15,6 (79,3 x 15 x4,7)
Main Machinery: Diesel-electric; 3 MTU diesels; 3,840 hp (2,68 MW) sustained; 3 generators; 1 motor; 2,000 hp (1,49 MW); 1 shaft; cp prop; bow thruster
Speed, knots: 14
Range, miles: 12,000 at 11kt
Complement: 124 (10 officers)
Radars: Navigation: Racal Decca; I-band
Helicopters: 1 Alouette III


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