Nigeria’s Homeland Integrated Offshore Services Limited has taken delivery of another two FCS 3307 Patrol vessels from Damen Shipyards Group, five months after the contracts were signed.
Damen announced the delivery on 23 July. The vessels, named Guardian 9 and Guardian 10, add to the existing FCS 3307 patrol fleet that Homeland has been operating for the past five years. The first Damen vessel was ordered in 2014, with the next most recent deliveries being three vessels in 2018. A June 2018 order took Homeland’s total to six.
The FCS 3307 Patrol vessels are 33 metres in length, and are powered by three Caterpillar main engines delivering 3,250 bkW to three fixed pitch propellers via three Reintjes WVS series gearboxes. Their Axe-Bow hull form gives good manoeuvrability and seakeeping combined with reduced fuel economy and a top speed of 28 knots. They will have a range of 1 000 nautical miles at full speed and with full complements of six crew and 12 security personnel they will be able to remain at sea for up to four weeks, in and around Nigeria’s coastal and offshore oil fields.
As privately-owned vessels they have no offensive capability apart from the security personnel on board and their equipment, in line with Nigerian regulations. Damen points out that they are well defended: the bridges are bullet proof and armoured ‘citadels’ within will protect non-combatants in the event of fire being exchanged.
Like their sisterships, each new vessel has a 75m² cargo deck aft rated at 2.5 tonnes/m². This allows them to provide an express service for the delivery of urgently needed equipment and spares. Additional equipment specified by HIOSL includes thermal imaging sets, diesel powered SOLAS fast rescue craft and Fuel Trax fuel monitoring systems as well as redundant fuel oil separators to protect the engines and generators from contaminated fuel.
Since Homeland Integrated Offshore Services Limited was founded in 2006 to support operations in Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas fields, it operates a large fleet of vessels including fast supply intervention vessels, platform supply vessels, anchor handling tug supply vessels and other offshore support vessels.
Homeland IOS Ltd is one of a few indigenous private maritime security companies in Nigeria with a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Navy for the provision of security services. It has received an award for exceptional services from the United States of America Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security Services.
The delivery of the vessels comes at a time of increased pirate activity in the region, with the International Maritime Bureau recently warning that the Gulf of Guinea is one of the most dangerous areas for shipping in the world.
Earlier this month Nigerian pirates took ten Turkish sailors hostage after attacking their cargo vessel Paksoy-1 off the coast of Nigeria.
According to the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB’s) latest piracy report the seas around West Africa remain the world’s most dangerous for piracy. Of 75 seafarers taken hostage aboard or kidnapped for ransom worldwide so far this year, 62 were captured in the Gulf of Guinea – off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon.
The IMB report reveals 73% of all kidnappings at sea and 92% of hostage-takings, happened in the Gulf of Guinea. Armed pirates in these high-risk waters kidnapped 27 crew members in the first half of 2019 and 25 in the same period in 2018. Two chemical tankers were hijacked as well as a tug then used in another attack. Of the nine vessels fired on worldwide, eight were off the coast of Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer. Attacks took place on average 65 nautical miles off the coast – classifying them as acts of piracy.