France’s Ocea delivers another survey vessel to the Nigerian Navy

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French shipbuilder Ocea has delivered an OSV 115 hydrographic survey vessel to the Nigerian Navy (NN), three years after the order for the ship was placed.

Ocea said the NNS Zhizoko (A506) was accepted on 12 January in Les Sables d’Olonne, with departure to Nigeria scheduled for more than a month later. After sea trials, the vessel sailed to Nigeria and was officially delivered to the Nigerian Navy on 17 April during a ceremony in Lagos.

Nigerian Navy Director of Information Commodore Augustine Adams-Aliu said, “this latest addition to the NN fleet will operate in tandem with the OSV 190 ‘NNS Lana,’ also built and delivered by Ocea in 2021.”

“The primary role of the new vessel is to conduct hydrographic and oceanographic surveys, supporting the ongoing NN efforts to safeguard Nigerian territorial waters and optimise the current administration’s Blue Economy initiatives,” he said.

He recalled that the Nigerian Navy commenced local production of internationally recognised nautical charts in 2019 and the newly acquired survey vessel will further improve the Navy’s hydrographic charting proficiency.

“The delivery of the OSV 115 vessel comes with comprehensive support services, including training, spare parts, tooling, and necessary documentation, ensuring seamless integration and operation within the Nigerian Navy’s fleet,” he added.

The Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for “his unwavering support to the NN in her fleet renewal aspirations.”

Revealing the order in October 2021, Ocea said the OSV 115 SC-WB vessel is designed for several missions, including oceanographic/hydrographic operations/survey; oil spill operations; general patrol; search and rescue; and diving support.

Equipment that will be carried on board includes a multibeam echosounder; a single beam echosounder; water sampling, storage and analysis equipment; and a wet laboratory. A 5.6 metre hydrographic boat fully equipped for surveys in small and very shallow waters will also be carried.

The 35 metre long vessel has a capacity for 12 crew and passengers and is able to reach a top speed of 12 knots and a range of 3 000 nautical miles at 10 knots.

The NNS Lana arrived in Nigeria on 17 May 2021 and replaced the previous NNS Lana, which was decommissioned a decade ago. The vessel (A499) is designed and purposely built to enable the Nigerian Navy to conduct hydrographic and oceanographic surveys. It is also capable of conducting geophysical studies, search and rescue operations as well as patrol duties. The ship is equipped with survey equipment as well as a 7.6 metre boat for shallow water surveys. The ship has an Automatic Weather Station (AWS), wet and dry laboratories, scientific and technical workshops as well as operating and processing rooms for survey data.

The NNS Lana’s machinery includes two MTU engines, three CAT main generators/one emergency generator, electric propulsion system and other auxiliaries. The electric propulsion, which is operated at survey speed, is particularly installed to minimize distortion of data due to machinery noise. The ship has a maximum speed of 14 knots and a capacity of 50 crew.

The two new hydrographic survey vessels will help the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Department conduct hydrographic surveys and charting of Nigeria’s waters. They will also afford Nigeria the opportunity of keying into the General Bathymetric Charts of the Oceans (GEBCO) Seabed 2030 project and the Global Multi-Resolution Topography (GMRT) synthesis project which would ultimately facilitate Nigeria’s accomplishment of its obligation under the SOLAS Convention (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea).

Over the last eight years Ocea has supplied one FPB 98 Mk I patrol vessel, eight FPB 72 Mk II, two FPB 110 and two FPB 110 Mk II patrol vessels to Nigeria in addition to four C-Falcon interceptors.