A Mombasa-based firm has successfully assembled an all-purpose boat. Associated Vehicle Assemblers partnered with Volvo Penta, an industrial and marine power system specialist in the project that has taken five years.
Designed in America and powered by two Volvo Penta engines, the 42-foot long sport fishing boat can cruise at a speed of 31 knots which is more efficient than most traditional fishing boats.
The Tintin Tu, as the boat is named, is worth more than Sh10 million.
Materials used in the vessel came in as complete knock down from Holland and took a team of 40 people to put them together.
“The boat is a first world product. It being made of aluminium makes it lighter yet it can withstand impact much better than their fiberglass counterparts. It is also well finished,” said Peter Bateman of Kilifi Boat Yard.
The yard located near Mombasa town is a full service facility that can carry out shipping, assembling, storage and repair of yachts.
“It has taken us five years. 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 AVA Production Manager Moses Abiero.
Kenya has one of the finest coastlines in the world with some of the best sailing conditions.
“Although there is not yet a significant demand of boats, the import duty on a ready assembled one is very high. As a complete knockdown kit, it is cheaper, “says Mr Bateman.
The heavy cost of importation of small boats, he says, means that access to the vessels for the general populace is limited.
“Importation increases the price by almost 100 per cent. There was a time I bought a boat at £25,000 by the time we got it here it was nearly £40,000,” said Mr Bateman, adding that for a locally assembled one the price will be Sh10 million, whereas an imported one will cost Sh14 million.