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Economy

Mombasa assembler makes first East Africa modern boat

‘Tintin Tu’ boat Mombasa Mtwapa
‘Tintin Tu’ which is worth more than Sh10 million at the Mtwapa creek. It was constructed at the Mombasa-based Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) plant in Miritini. PHOTO | Eunice Murathe | NMG 

Mombasa-based Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) has launched East Africa’s first locally manufactured modern boat.

AVA is one of the three largest Knocked down (KD) arrangement assemblies for some internationally renowned brands such as Toyota and Scania.

The leisure and fishing boat made its maiden trip at the scenic Mtwapa creek, a mooring area for boats in Mombasa.

‘Tintin Tu’, worth more than Sh10 million, was constructed at the plant in Miritini in collaboration with Volvo Penta, an industrial and marine power system specialist.
About five years ago, AVA projects manager Mark Jennings started construction of the boat.

“The project was initiated by David Williamson (AVA factory manager). We bought it as a kit from Holland to be assembled at the AVA plant,” said Mr Jennings. “It has taken us five years of hard work and this is the outcome now.”

The vessel, which is owned by Mr Williamson, boasts three ensuite bedrooms fitted with an air conditioning and music system. It can accommodate six people.

“I would come up with an interior design then after sometime demolish it until it worked,” said Mr Jennings adding that the boat meets the world standards.

He said the 42-foot long sport fishing boat is the first of its kind in East Africa.

Designed in America and powered by two Volvo Penta IPS600 engines, the boat can cruise at a high speed of 31 knots.

The hull is made of aluminum and stainless steel sourced from Holland. The wood used in the vessel came in as complete knock down material used for vehicle assembling
AVA Production Manager Moses Abiero said due to the successful boat assembling, plans are underway for a roll-out.

“It has taken us five years as it was just a project. We concentrate more on assembling commercial and passenger vehicles. If orders are placed (for the boat) it will take less than eight months. This was just a learning project we will now venture into roll-out,” said Mr Abiero.

He added that the plant with its new venture hopes to tap into the largely unexploited marine infrastructure industry.

“It is the first time and amazingly when we put it on water everything worked. The government should support the making of boats locally,” he said.

“We are progressing to more numbers in future as making them on a larger scale will be cheaper.”

Mr Abiero said the plant is also eyeing oil and gas machinery production.

“We are also thinking of venturing into oil and gas where we will have specialised tankers and machineries used in the industry,” he added.

Engine sales area manager for Volvo Penta in Africa, Inga Wiemers lauded the project, terming it a breakthrough in the marine leisure industry.

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