CAPE TOWN – Local shipbuilding and
maritime solutions company Nautic
Africa has begun building seven 35-
metre patrol vessels for West African
clients. The vessels, whose combined
contract value is over R600m (US$60m), are the first in their class to be designed and built in South Africa.

Nautic Africa has already laid keels on
two of the vessels, with three to
follow this month. It expects to make
its first deliveries next year and to
complete the contract early in 2015.

The orders resulted from the
company’s collaboration with West
African navies, as well as oil and gas
companies, to develop an effective
way of counteracting illegal fishing,
piracy and other illicit offshore activities.

“Piracy in the region is a bigger
problem than it is on the East Africa
coast,” says Nautic Africa CEO James
Fisher. “What set us apart was our
willingness to develop a bespoke
solution for our clients.” The vessels were custom-designed to cope with
the challenging security issues in the
Gulf of Guinea.

Nautic Africa’s in-house design team collaborated with a Cape Town-based naval architect to develop the vessels which are light and fast, and have the capability of larger, more expensive vessels. All come equipped with a ballistic protection system, satellite tracking and marine navigation equipment.

The 35m vessels, dubbed Sentinels are also equipped with two lightweight ‘interceptor’ vessels called Guardians.

“The majority of territorial water offshore threats are from largely
indistinguishable craft less than 12
metres in length,” said Fisher. “The
FDIs, which are deployable in minutes, enhance the patrol effectiveness of offshore assets and enable personnel to communicate with small fishing boats and/or make arrests at sea level. This makes policing safer and more effective”

CEO James Fisher says the company will
now also firm up its plans to establish a
second “life-cycle and support” facility in
the Gulf of Guinea at Port Harcourt in

The aluminium patrol boats will have
South African developed ‘Super Shield’ composite armour protection for their wheelhouses and a full-load displacement of 175 tonnes, a beam
of 7.5 m and a draught of 1.4 m.

Powered by three 1,193 kW Caterpillar C32 ACERT engines driving three shafts, they have a maximum speed of 28 kts, a range of 2,130 km at their normal cruising speed of 20 kts and 7,590 km when speed is reduced to 10 kts for extended patrols. Electrical power is provided by two Caterpillar C4.4 107 kVA generators.

The vessels have a crew of six in
standard configuration, with
accommodation for up to 12 passengers or additional personnel, and are designed to carry up to two of Nautic’s BR850-TPD Guardian interceptors for boarding work. These are launched using a single-point system.

The Guardian is an 8.5 m aluminium craft with 2.8 m beam and 60 cm draught and a full load displacement of 3.8 tonnes. The shallow draft combines with a 373 kW diesel with a tunnel propeller drive to allow operations close to the shore and in river deltas.

They have a maximum speed of 42 kts with a range of 295 km at that speed, or a 700 km range at 20 kts for inshore patrol or similar tasks.They are designed for a crew of two with space for a six-strong boarding party, and can be fitted with shock-mitigating seats if intended for high-speed intercept missions. Their
systems include a GPS/chart plotter
and a 2 kW 4G broadband radar.



Here are SEVEN compelling reasons why these vessels are almost certain to be mostly destined for Nigerian naval service

– the allusion to previous work done for navies and oil firms (crew boats)

– the mention of PIRACY for which Nigeria is one of the Top 2 hotspots on the planet

– the reference to river deltas and oil operations (where else in the Gulf of Guinea but the Niger Delta as of now)

– the reference to ‘boarding work’..mainstay activity of the Nigerian Navy and its Special Boat Service

– The unstated ‘defence protocol’ signed between Nigeria and South Africa during President Jonathan’s state visit to South Africa in May 2013

– the follow-up visit by the Nigerian Chief of the Naval Staff in June 2013 during which he toured South African shipyards, a visit which coincided with the time when the keels were laid down.

– the imminent construction of a Vessel Support and Maintenance Facility in the Niger Delta, the oil and piracy hotspot in West Africa

So Nigerians, look to the horizon. More little, new ships coming your way, following swiftly on the heels of the commissioning of five new OCEA/Shaldag Fast Patrol Craft in February 2013.

A 31 metre Andoni-class patrol craft, another Shaldag FPC (the sixth unit acquired) and a 32 metre OCEA FPB 72 Mk.II patrol craft (paid for by the Nigerian Ports Authority) are also slated for delivery to the Nigerian Navy in the next 4-10 months.

Additionally, the first of two Chinese-built 95 metre, 1800 ton P18N stealth Offshore Patrol Vessels is scheduled for delivery in 2014.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. camouflage1984 says:

    Oga beeg going by your wealth of knowledge on defence issues in Nigeria, do u think we need more of these small boats and crafts? Dont we have enough already to patrol our waters?

  2. freeegulf says:

    marine police and a new coast guard should be dealing with these small vessels. from 12m to 35m, NN should have nothing to do with these river boats. except for NN SBS operating their own vessels, naval vessels need to start from 65m up.
    a green water navy is not too much to ask for

  3. Yagazie says:

    If this country was serious, all these small patrol craft should be assigned to our Coast Guard or NIMASSA. The Nigerian Navy should be properly funded and have proper ocean going platforms like Frigates with ASW helos embarked, Corvettes, Helicopter Landing Docks, Mine Counter-Measure Vessesls, Hydrographic Vessels, Fleet Replenishment/Auxillary Vessels (to replenish our fleet at sea), Submarines, Maritime Patrol Aircraft (Orion-P3), properly equipped FOBs and Naval Bases, Functioning Coastal/aerial radars, etc. Lets face facts- most of the pircacy/illegal oil bunkering takes place well out at sea about 50- 100miles from our shoreline and as such we need large vessels that can adequately patrol these areas. So all these samll vessels/patrol craft being purchased whilst welcome for the purposes of patroling our littoral waters/creeks- are not really what our Navy needs at the moment. NNS Thunder is on its way to Australia for the IFR. NNS Aradu is languishing at the piers awaiting refurbishment. Thus at the moment our navy has no capable ocean going platforms available to patrol/protect our EEZ. Which is why the French have a frigate patrolling our territorial waters. So please lets call a spade a spade- the Government should concentrate on getting Larger ocean going platforms- we have enough small vessles- period!!

    • giles says:

      people we must start from some where,2 opv being built by china and i tink by next year we wil b with least 4 frigate and by 2015 might to roughful 8/9 opv so make we cool body. Nigerian military have always been a secret spender

  4. Yagazie says:

    Oga Giles- no vex- ‘2opv being built by china and i THINK (emphasis is mine) by next year we will b with least 4 frigate and by 2015 MIGHT (emphasis mine) to roughful 8/9 opv so make we cool body’

    The problem is what happens in the period between NOW and when we might get these new vessels?. What steps are we taking to plug the capability gap in the interim pending the arrival of the new vessels? What steps are we taking to deal with the Piracy problem that is occuring NOW in our EEZ/territorial waters pending the arrival of the new Vessels. What steps are we taking NOW to reduce the loss of revenue ($10.7 billion dollars in two years 2011-2013 according to the recently released NEITI report) pending the arrival of the new vessels? That is the crux of the matter.

    There are decommisssioned ships (German Type 122 Frigates, Australian Freemantle Class Patrol Boats) that are in good condition that can be purchased and put into
    service NOW to plug the capability gap pending the arrival of the new OPVs/Frigates. That is why some of us are so p***ed off with our Govt.

    Meanwhile foreign navies are patrolling our territorial waters/EEZ because we simply refuse to step up to the plate and take the drastic /necessary spending /aquisition decisions to equip our Navy. Haba!!

  5. giles says:

    eyimola,sorry i mean to say opv not frigate.and btw now and that time we can manage with our smaller craft

    • eyimola says:

      Thanks for the clarification. I do agree that some of our smaller vessels should be more involved in the patrolling of our EEZ, but suspect majority of them do not have the range.

    • Obix says:

      Oga giles, i don’t agree with you on this one. As at today we have serious security issues. I agree with oga Yags, between now and then should we lose another $10 bln? No way! We need to plug some holes right now and reduce the loses. This is simple economics. Why can’t spend $500mln right now on ready platforms and then wait for the OPVs and manna from heaven! Abeg, our body no suppose cool ooo!

      • giles says:

        oga obix,goin for decomissoined is not bad but it’s almost desam as buyin a new craft,cos 1 u hav to show intrest 2 pay for it’s refittin and upgrade 3 it wil take atleast 1 year.

    • Obix says:

      Oga giles, i understand your point. But we shouldn’t compare the “naked” ship the US transfered to us with the ones the Australian navy is decomissioning (as reported here on this blog) . Furthermore, Russia, Ukraine, China can transfer to you combat ready ships as soon as they get your crew trained, while they work on your orders. If this case had been taken seriously, how many new ships could we have purchased in the past 2 years? Remember that piracy and oil bunkering didn’t start this year.

  6. jimmy says:

    una don talk am finish make i no talk BIKO , JO ( TRANSLATION PLEASE) make I JUST GO JEJE ( SOFTLY) from this topic before my b.p begin rise again.

    • eyimola says:

      You have no idea of how many time I have retyped posts just to avoid saying what I would really have to say.

      • jimmy says:

        o boy ESPECIALLY with the one only B.F.F. of yours who also accused me of being a spy/ traitor/ i don’t know who i am l.o.l.

  7. Blackrev says:

    Don’t mean to be a bad belle, am just tired of hearing about all this kind of purchase. This is a cruise ship compared to the kind of threats Nigeria from piracy and bunkery.

    For crying out loud, beegs has been showing some recently decommisioned and capable frigates and OPVs we can manage as we wait for brand new coming later next year, not even early. What is MOD doing? Busy Tweeting?

    Our government seems to be paying lip service to the problem of oil theft. Cos if they are really serious, spending up to $500M to prevent a loss of $10B a year is worth it by far.

    Abeg i don tire. This is not what we need abeg. Just like they are happy US will be dashing them over used ships that will still cost a lot to operate, abeg make i stop hear. This kind news don p**s me of jare

  8. Makanaky says:

    Why should they buy OPV’s,Frigates and Coverttes when they are the people responsible for bunkering and Piracy.
    Show me which poor man is involved in piracy, who is fooling who ?

  9. doziex says:

    Arise !! O critics, Lets do what is necessary. Let’s hold the president, and his ministry of defense’s feet to the fire.

    The only fair grade to give them is a 5 % failure grade. And funny, they are doing better than many other regimes.
    It goes to show how woeful nigerian leaders and law makers have performed vis a vis nigerian security over the years.

    It also explains why insecurity in nigeria has reduced human lives, to the price of chickens.

    Accountability is what is missing in the governing of nigeria. The least we can do here, is to hold our law makers and our C-I-C to account for purposely shortchanging our armed forces,


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