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: