Senegal has ordered three OPV 58S offshore patrol vessels from France’s Piriou, which will start construction in early 2020. The vessels will be used for surveillance, interception and security missions.
The contract was signed on 17 November by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. Piriou said the construction of the vessels would take place over a period of 44 months, with the vessels to be supported in Senegal by Piriou subsidiary Pirou Ngom Senegal, created in October 2017 through a partnership with Ngom & Freres. This facility is dedicated to the maintenance of naval and commercial vessels as well as the construction of small fishing craft.
The OPV 58S offshore patrol vessels for Senegal will be 62 metres long, 9.5 metres wide and have a maximum draft of 2.9 metres. They will have steel hulls and aluminium superstructures with a 360 degree panoramic bridge, a rapid deployment/recovery system for two boats and be each able to accommodate up to 48 people, including 24 crew members. Top speed will be 21 knots with a range of 4 500 miles at 12 knots, for a 25 day endurance.
The vessels will be armed with four anti-ship missiles (Marte Mk 2Ns) and the MBDA SIMBAD-RC air defence system with two Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles, along with a 76 mm gun and possibly two 20 mm Narwhal cannons, although this is not confirmed. France’s Naval Group will supply the combat management system (POLARIS).
Senegal has been expanding its navy recently, for example in 2018 signing a contract with France’s Raidco Marine for two more RPB 33 patrol boats, after the shipyard delivered a single RPB 33 in 2013. The new vessels are due to be delivered by June 2020 and will be operated on behalf of the High Authority for Maritime Security, Maritime Safety and Marine Environment (HASSMAR) by the Senegalese Navy.
Senegal’s navy received a boost in February 2018 when the United States handed over two donated 11.5 metre Defiant class patrol boats. The donation included boat repair and maintenance kits, and towing vehicles, and a two-week training session on the use and maintenance of the vessels.
In 2015 Senegal received the 45.8 metre long offshore patrol vessel Kedougou from STX France. This was ordered from Raidco Marine, which subcontracted construction to the STX Lorient shipyard. This was followed a year later by the 58 metre long Fouladou offshore patrol vessel, built by France’s Ocea.
The new vessels are part of Senegal’s plan to renew its naval fleet and allow the maritime arm of service to carry out missions such as fisheries inspection, fighting drug trafficking and piracy. Senegal’s navy is tasked with patrolling 700 kilometres of coastline and 159 000 square kilometres of exclusive economic zone (EEZ).