Nigerian offshore oil and gas services provider Homeland Integrated Offshore Services Limited (HIOSL) has ordered several Flex Fighter security/crew boats from Singapore’s Penguin Shipyards.
These will be delivered in December 2019, according to HIOSL. The 40 metre long vessels feature all-round ballistic protection for the wheelhouse, machinegun mounts and gunner shields forward and aft. Up to twelve security personnel can be accommodated.
To fulfil its role as a crew boat, the Flex Fighter also comes with reclining seats for 42 passengers and a 93 square metre cargo deck with knuckle boom crane for equipment and components. “Additional features that make them well-suited for the arduous conditions of the Gulf of Guinea include heavy-duty/self-cleaning fuel oil purifiers, an external fire-fighting monitor and a FuelTrax Electronic Fuel Management System,” the company said.
“We continue to invest in state-of-the-art vessels for our fleet so as to maintain our leadership position in servicing Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas sector,” said Dr Louis Ekere, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Homeland Integrated Offshore Services Limited. “We work with many of the international oil companies (IOCs) operating actively in the Gulf of Guinea and these new additions will support them in achieving their strategic global objectives. This is the first time that we have purchased vessels from Penguin Shipyard and we chose them on this occasion based on their proven record of reliability in the building and delivery of several such vessels to Nigeria and other countries. The delivery of these Flex Fighters will significantly strengthen Homeland’s fleet and create additional channels of diversification to support the ever-evolving needs of our existing and prospective clients.”
Homeland has a fleet of vessels that includes fast supply intervention vessels, platform support vessels, anchor handling tug supply ships, security and patrol vessels, tugs and other craft. It has previously acquired a number of crew/security vessels from Damen.
For instance, in July Damen announced that HIOSL had taken delivery of another two FCS 3307 Patrol vessels from Damen Shipyards Group, named Guardian 9 and Guardian 10, adding to the existing FCS 3307 fleet Homeland has been operating for the last 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.
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 protect non-combatants in the event of fire being exchanged.
Homeland IOS Ltd is one of a few indigenous Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) in Nigeria with a valid memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Navy for the provision of security services. It received an award for exceptional services from the United States Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security Services.
HIOSL’s recent deliveries and orders come 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.