French shipyard CMN yesterday launch the first of three Ocean Eagle 43 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for Mozambique.
The vessel emerged from the workshop at CMN’s facility in Cherbourg on January 20, with the launch taking place two days later, according to Mer et Marine. After the launch, sea trials will commence in February ahead of delivery in the coming months.
The hull arrived in Cherbourg on September 24 for outfitting of engines and equipment. The hull was built by H2X Shipyard at La Ciotat, France. The other two hulls are under construction, with one delivered to CMN in December 2014 and the other scheduled for arrival early this year.
The Ocean Eagle 43 patrol vessel features an innovative trimaran design ideal for shallow waters. The model has a top speed of 30 knots and a range of 3 000 miles at 20 knots or 5 000 miles at 12 knots. Crew complement is seven, but another eight people can be accommodated aboard. A small helipad can accommodate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) like the Schiebel Camcopter while a seven metre rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) can be launched from a ramp at the back of the vessel. Weapons options include a 20 or 30 mm cannon above the bridge and two 12.7 mm machineguns at the stern.
On September 5, 2013, the Mozambican government signed a 200 million euro deal with Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie (CMN) to build the three Ocean Eagles, three HSI 32 interceptors and 24 fishing vessels over a two year period. The HSI 32s will be delivered between December 2015 and April 2016.f
The HSI 32 interceptors are able to reach speeds of up to 45 knots and can undertake patrols for three days, with a range of 800 miles. Weapon options include a remotely operated 20 mm cannon and two 12.7 mm machineguns. A RHIB can be launched from the back of the boat. Crew complement is 12. These vessels are ideal for anti-piracy, anti-terrorism and anti-smuggling missions.
The order for 24 trawlers involves the CMN 23.5 model, crewed by eight and having an endurance of ten days. The first two were launched on March 25, 2014. This model has a length of 23.5 metres, a maximum speed of 10.5 knots and a range of ten days. It can hold 30 tons of loose fish.
The new vessels ordered from France will provide a major boost to Mozambique’s navy, especially in light of recent offshore oil and natural gas finds. At present the country’s small navy comprises a single Conejera class patrol craft (Pebane) donated by Spain, a couple of Namacurra class harbour patrol boats donated by South Africa and around ten small patrol craft, including RHIBs.