Namibia’s Namdock has been awarded a contract to repair and maintain Angolan Navy vessels, with the first set to arrive in early 2020.
Namdock Commercial and Operations Manager Willie Esterhuyse said that Namdock will initially take two Marinha de Guerra Angolana vessels into its dry docks, but next year the contract could be expanded to include other Angolan vessels as well as training and related services.
Namdock operates three floating docks (including a Panamax-sized dock) at the Namibian port of Walvis Bay as well as seven cranes and one 60 ton floating crane. The docks involve a joint venture between the EBH Consortium and Namport, the state-owned ports authority.
“We are pleased to welcome this new customer to our shipyard which is arguably the most sophisticated and efficient on the West Coast of Africa,” Esterhuyse said. Namdock has carried out projects such as the repair of the Angolan Ministry of Fisheries (Pescangola) floating dry dock and has been maintaining Namibian Navy vessels since the company’s inception in 2006.
The first two vessels will be sailed from Angola and will undergo a turnkey maintenance operation at Walvis Bay, where all services such as dry docking, sandblasting, coating, mechanical, metalwork, valves, piping, engine work, electronics are fully available. “As these vessels play a key part in the defence of Angola, Namdock will be bringing all its experience and expertise to bear to affect a rapid turnaround,” the company said.
In order to protect Angola’s 1 600 km long coastline, the Angolan Navy is undergoing modernisation but is still lacking in many ways. Recent piracy incidents appear to have galvanised efforts to maintain and expand the fleet, which comprises of four Mandume class (Bazan Cormoran) fast attack craft, ten patrol boats, three fisheries patrol vessels (operated by the navy on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries) and several LDM-400 landing craft.
Angola has expanded its fleet in recent years and attempted to acquire seven Macae-class patrol boats from Brazil in 2014 but the deal fell through. In December 2015 Angola ordered new equipment from Italy, including two patrol boats, radars and six helicopters. The 7.3 million euro patrol boat order was placed with Whitehead Sistemi Subacquei, part of Finmeccanica (Lenoardo). It does not appear that these boats have been delivered yet.
In September 2016, UAE-based Privinvest announced it would establish a shipyard in Angola and supply several naval vessels. Privinvest has facilities and shipyards in a number of countries including France, Germany and the Middle East. Its core focus is the design and construction of naval and commercial vessels, the supply of integrated systems, support programmes for naval fleets, and the support and transfer of technology to countries wishing to develop their shipbuilding industries.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Angola in 2016 ordered a long range offshore patrol vessel and a short range patrol vessel from France under a 495 million euro deal (the vessels are believed to be Vigilante-1400 and Vigilante-400 models built by CMN).
The Angolan Navy’s most recent delivery was four Super Dvora Mk III patrol craft, which were ordered from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in 2015 and delivered in 2016. The type has an overall length of 27 meters, a top speed in excess of 40 knots, and displaces approximately 50 tonnes. It has a range of over 1 000 nautical miles at 10 knots. The type can be armed with 20, 23, 25 or 30 mm cannons, 7.62 or 12.7 mm machineguns and 40 mm grenade launchers.
Angola has meanwhile been upgrading its port facilities, and in May this year contracted the Portuguese firm Mota-Engil to modernise facilities at Soyo. The company announced it had been awarded a 270 million euro contract to modernise the Soyo Port facilities in northern Angola with the main activities including dredging, the construction of quays and buildings and other infrastructure.