The JR More and the SAS Durban: An Update

By 30th October 2019 January 13th, 2020 News

Towards the end of August two of the Durban Maritime Museum’s exhibition pieces, namely the JR More and the SAS Durban, were towed to SA Shipyards’ floating dock for some much needed restoration work. Typically ships are sent for dry docking every 12-24 months in order to service machinery that can’t be accessed while the ship is in use. The situation is slightly different with the museum vessels however, where the restoration is focused more on the actual structure of the vessels than their moving parts.

Over time the chloride in the seawater has destroyed the protective oxide film that covers the metal hull of the JR More, and as the SAS Durban is a wooden vessel, this 1950s naval minesweeper is even more susceptible to the effects of the harsh harbour climate! The images below, which were supplied by Durban Maritime Museum Boat Supervisor, Zama Mkhize, show the progress of the crucial restoration work currently being carried out on these two very important vessels:

The JR More

The SAS Durban

2 Comments

  • Herman Steyn says:

    I joined the S A Navy as a national serviceman during January 1974 untill June 1975. I served as the navigators yeoman on the SAS Durban after completing a radar course on the bluff in Durban and a class of new recruits as their junior leader at Simonstown SAS Simonsberg.
    The three months spent on the Durban were the most exciting and rewarding of my seafearing sojurn that ended on the President Kruger.
    Nothing beats the cameraderie and freedom experienced on the smaller ships.The Durban just qualified as a ship and was almost a boat due to her tonnage,but fortunately not.
    Top heavy with a shallow wooden keel ,diesel enjined she was despite her unglamorous description an absolute delight once you got used to her pitch and roll which was consdiderable in rough weather.Once you were balanced you were”salted” and no matter how rough the weather you were spared feeding the fish with what was consistently fantastic food from the galley,whether sandwitches or freshly cought snoek around the Cape Peninsula, when as a well trained yeoman you felt “obliged ” to inform the Captain that radio chatter from Cape Town Radio revealed the movement of the snoek to the joy of all.Lines would with dollies would appear in no time from nowhere,and the galley was placed on standby in preparation for the “catch of the day”.It didnt get better than that.The bridge was my domain and therefore the upkeep – scrubbing of the teak bridge wings untill they were almost white ,brassing the voice pipes ,compass and keeping the chartroom pristine in readiness for orderly navigtion operations,watching the radar screen and passing and lighting of cigarettes to the OC a very young inexperienced lieutenant ,always nervous when maneuvering her before comming alongside the quay whith the southeaster adding to his nervous meltdown.Miracoulsy ,half a packet of cigarettes later the “stop engines” command would be voiced down to the depths of the engine room with sweat being wiped from his brow.Thanks to Durban Museum for preserving the SAS Durban.Due to your undertaking and preservation I was fortunate enough to visit Durban and revisit the familiar nooks and crannies of my favourate ship and companion that left such an indelible impression on me.

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