Third and final OPV 58S offshore patrol vessel delivered to Senegal

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French shipyard Pirou has delivered the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Cayor to Senegal’s Navy, marking the end of the construction programme for the West African nation.

The Cayor was handed over on 16 April during a ceremony at the Pirou Group’s facilities in Concarneau, France, and attended by the Ambassador of Senegal to France El Hadji i Magatte Seye and Admiral Abdou Sene – Chief of Staff of the Senegalese Navy.

The contract was signed by the Ministry of the Armed Forces of Senegal and Piriou Group in November 2019 and entered into force on 30 September 2020. The contract covered the acquisition of three 62 metre offshore patrol vessels. After the Walo, delivered in June 2023 and reaching Dakar in August 2023, and the Niani, delivered in November 2023 and reaching Dakar in January, the Cayor now flies the Senegalese flag and marks the end of a construction programme that mobilised hundreds of employees over four years, representing more than 600 000 working hours, Piriou said in a statement.

“We have designed and built new-generation patrol vessels that will further strengthen the Senegalese Navy’s defence posture and enable the Navy to cover the full range of state actions at sea missions it is responsible for,” said Vincent Faujour, President of Piriou. “We also wanted to be worthy of the trust placed in us by the Senegalese nation and its seafarers, who work, sometimes risking their lives, for the security and sovereignty of their country.”

After a successful experience with the construction of the OPV 87 offshore patrol vessel project for Argentina, Piriou reproduced this scheme and divided the production of the hulls for the OPV 58S between its Concarneau shipyard and that of Lorient, where Kership, a jointly owned subsidiary of Piriou and Naval Group, is based. Working alongside the French Navy and DCI Navfco, Piriou has also contributed to training and coaching seafarers in ship handover and the use of combat systems, the company said.

“The delivery of the Cayor marks the completion of a major programme for the Kership teams in Concarneau and Lanester. I would like to congratulate them, and extend my warmest thanks to the Senegalese Navy, with whom we have enjoyed working on a daily basis over the past few years,” said Éric Langlois, President of Kership.

“We are very honoured to have contributed to the success of this project for the Senegalese Navy, which once again demonstrates the success and performance of the cooperation between Kership, Piriou and Naval Group”, said Olivier de la Bourdonnaye, Naval Group’s Executive Vice President, Surface Ships.

The Cayor will soon join her two sister ships, the Walo and Niani. These have already proved their capabilities in several operations, including rescue operations, the fight against illicit trafficking and the fight against pollution at sea, Piriou said. The vessels have been involved in many maritime security operations that have seen their crew board dozens of vessels carrying drugs, mainly to Spain. Other tasks are oil and gas security, combating illegal fishing, emigration, and trafficking.

“The OPV 58S programme is a successful part of our commercial relationship, and it is also an industrial success that contributes to reinforcing Piriou’s position as a key player in military vessels shipbuilding industry,” stated Faujour.

“An important chapter has come to an end, but the story is not over yet: I’ve spoken about design, construction and training. In this respect, be assured that our teams in Dakar are and will remain fully committed to guaranteeing the highest level of operational availability for the OPVs.”

The OPV 58S vessels have a length of 62.2 meters, displacement of 600 tonnes, a top speed of 21 knots and range of 4 500 nautical miles at 12 knots. Endurance is three weeks with a crew of 24, although another 24 personnel can be accommodated.

The OPV 58S design is based on the ‘C-Sharp’ (Combined-Speeds Hull with All-Round Performances) hull developed by Piriou and Kership, which increases the ship’s endurance and seagoing capabilities. The hull is all-steel with an aluminium superstructure, featuring a 360° panoramic bridge and an aft ramp for the rapid launch and recovery of two rigid-hull inflatable boats. A large rear deck can accommodate two 20-foot containers, handled by a crane (7.5 t to 8 m).

The vessels are armed with four MBDA 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, two 20 mm cannons, and two 12.7 mm machine guns. France’s Naval Group supplies the combat management system (POLARIS).