Kenya completes local refurbishment of patrol ship Shupavu


Kenya’s President William Ruto has rededicated the patrol vessel KNS Shupavu following a local overhaul performed by Kenya Shipyards Limited at a new facility established with assistance from Damen in the Netherlands.

The rededication ceremony was held on 29 July at Kenya Shipyards Limited’s (KSL’s) Mombasa Shipyard at Mtongwe Naval Base in Mombasa.

The refurbishment began in November 2021 and, according to Kenya Shipyards Limited, involved replacing major components such as engines, generators, and other machinery, as well as upgrading the vessel’s electrical systems, navigational equipment, and other onboard systems. The KNS Shupavu was also given a fresh coat of paint, and the living quarters were renovated to improve crew comfort. A new davit crane was added for launching and recovering boats.

Mombasa Shipyard had already started work on the KNS Shupavu when it was officially opened in December 2021. It was established with assistance from Damen and includes a 4 000 ton slipway, 120x30x20 metre small parking building, 150x30x30 metre large parking building, and four workshops.

KSL said it worked closely with Damen and the Kenya Navy to ensure the KNS Shupavu was correctly refurbished. “The midlife refit of the KNS Shupavu marks a significant milestone for KSL. The KNS Shupavu can now continue to serve the nation’s maritime interests for many more years, and this achievement paves way for other naval vessels in the region to undergo similar refits in the future,” Kenya Shipyards Limited said.

The Shupavu’s sister ship, KNS Shujaa, was previously refurbished by Damen Shipyards in the Netherlands, over a 21-month period. It returned home in July 2018. KNS Shuja is one of two Shupavu class large patrol boats built by Gondan shipyard in Spain, acquired in 1996 to replace older vessels. They are armed with 76 and 30 mm guns.

KSL managing director Major General Paul Otieno said the KNS Shupavu’s refit being done in Kenya saved an estimated KES600 million ($4 million) and provided employment for 150 technical and 200 unskilled personnel. The refit was also done within budget.


The cooperation between state-owned Kenya Shipyards Limited and Damen is an example of a successful public-private partnership (PPP). These initiatives will be discussed at the upcoming Public-Private Partnerships for Defence and Security conference in Pretoria later this month. Click here for more information.