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US donates patrol boats to Senegal and Cabo Verde

A Senegalese Navy Metal Shark Defender patrol boat.The US military has donated two patrol boats to Senegal’s Navy and five patrol boats to Cabo Verde to enhance their maritime security, with an emphasis on combating drug trafficking.

The boats were funded by the US Africa Command Counternarcotic and Transnational Threats Programs Division.

The two 38 foot (11.5 m) Defiant class patrol boats were handed over to the Senegalese Navy during a ceremony on 8 February 2018 in Dakar, Senegal. The donation included boat repair and maintenance kits, and towing vehicles, and a two-week training session on the use and maintenance of the vessels.

The Defiant is an aluminium patrol boat built by Metal Shark. Various powerplant options are available, including inboard diesels or multiple outboards, giving top speeds of up to 50 knots depending on engine configuration.

Another patrol boat is scheduled for delivery to the Senegalese Navy in October 2018. This will be the sixth of this class donated to Senegal, Africa Command said.

“This donation augments Senegal’s law enforcement capacity to patrol its exclusive economic zone and adjacent international waters through the provision of an offshore patrol capability greatly enhancing their ability to counter illicit drug trafficking in the maritime domain,” said Ken Diamond, Africom counter illicit trafficking programme manager.

Africom also said it had donated five 21 foot Relentless class patrol boats to the Cabo Verde Maritime Police in December 2017 and has plans to donate 10 more by 2019.

The 6.4 metre long Relentless patrol boats are aluminium vessels also built by Metal Shark.

These boats also came with operations and maintenance training and personal protective equipment, said Chad Godlewski, Africom counter illicit trafficking branch chief.

“The boats were given to the Maritime Police to increase Cabo Verde’s ability to interdict illicit drug trafficking,” he said. “Cabo Verde is located at a strategic crossroads between South America, Africa, and Europe and this is a primary transit route for South American cocaine.”

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