The Nigerian Navy (NN) plans to take delivery of 41 new vessels in 2020, including patrol boats, interceptors and a hydrographic survey vessel.
In mid-December, the Nigerian Navy’s head of policy and plans Rear Admiral Beegroy Ibe-Enwo said it will receive new vessels from France, Malaysia, Vietnam and local manufacturers, adding to the 42 patrol boats and other vessels acquired in 2019.
Ibe-Enwo said the new acquisitions include a 60 metre OSV 160 hydrographic survey vessel from France’s Ocea, two 40 metre fast patrol boats from Damen Shipyard in Vietnam, four Manta class boats from Malaysia’s Suncraft, one helicopter from Italy (most likely an AW109) and 15 riverine patrol boats from Nigeria’s Epenal Group. The Nigerian Navy already has 20 18 metre Manta Mk III boats in service.
Ocea is also constructing two 35 metre FPB 110 fast patrol boats, a 24 metre FPB 72 fast patrol boat and four 17 metre C-Falcon interceptors for the Nigerian Navy, which has already received two FPB 110s, seven FPB 72s and a 35 metre FPB 98.
The Nigerian Navy is constructing its own vessels, and is busy with a third Seaward Defence Boat at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos State as well as two 500-ton self-propelled barges.
Earlier this month Vietnamese media reported that Hanoi-based James Boat Technology Company had delivered 50 composite patrol boats to Nigeria in mid-December 2019. They will be used for patrol, search and rescue and oil rig protection duties. Hong Ha Shipbuilding Company, meanwhile, received an order for ten 15 metre armoured patrol boats from Nigeria.
Naval acquisitions in 2019 included 20 riverine patrol boats, 20 rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) and house boats. Earlier in December, the Nigerian Navy announced it had ordered an LST 100 landing ship from Damen, which is building the vessel at its facilities in the United Arab Emirates.
Maritime security continues to be a major issue in Nigeria, with numerous attacks against vessels in Nigerian waters. Rear Admiral Tariworio Dick, chief of training and operations, said 16 pirate attacks were reported from January to December 2019, with six successful and ten unsuccessful. “This is an improvement in comparison to the records for 2018 where a total of 34 pirate attacks were reported with nine successful and 25 unsuccessful.”
Dick said Nigeria’s oil and gas facilities and shipping is being threatened by piracy, sea robbery, crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering, unregulated fishing, militancy and hostage taking, which is a major concern to the Navy. Several operations have been launched to combat these threats, with 378 illegal refineries destroyed in 2019, 62 speedboats impounded, 463 wooden boats destroyed and 275 suspects arrested.