China donates patrol boat to Ivory Coast


China has donated a patrol boat to the Ivory Coast to combat maritime crime and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The vessel was handed over by Chinese Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire Tang Weibin on 14 July, and accepted by Cote d’Ivoire’s defence minister Alain Donwahi. “This donation will allow the Navy of Cote d’Ivoire to take off. This is a major step in Sino-Ivorian cooperation,” Donwahi is reported by Xinhua as saying.
“This is a true example of South-South cooperation,” Weibin said, adding that China is willing to strengthen Cote d’Ivoire’s army as well.

The vessel, which appears to be a 27 metre long Predator class vessel, was launched on 19 May and donated to Cote d’Ivoire along with naval repair equipment worth a total of CNY30 million ($4.4 million), according to the Chinese embassy in Cote d’Ivoire. The embassy said that to assist with naval repair, 13 Chinese experts were in May dispatched to the West African country.

Cote d’Ivoire is adding around 40 new vessels to its fleet as it confronts a growing threat from pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. Recent acquisitions include three RPB 33 patrol vessels from France’s Raidco Marine (delivered between 2014 and 2016), three 8 metre long Defender rigid hulled inflatable boats, around 30 inflatable speed launches and several 9- to 12-metre craft, mostly from Raidco.