The first of three hulls for Mozambique’s new Ocean Eagle 43 patrol boats is on its way to the CMN shipyard in France, where it will be motorised and equipped. Mozambique has three patrol boats, three interceptors and 24 fishing trawlers on order from the French company.
CMN Shipyards on Tuesday announced that the first hull left the H2X Shipyard workshops on September 8 and was due to depart La Ciotat, France, on September 12 to reach Cherbourg aboard the cargo vessel Spirit. CMN will then complete the vessel.
The other two hulls are already under construction. One will be removed from its mould during the week for a delivery in mid-November and the third is scheduled for mid-January 2015, CMN said.
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. 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 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. Deliveries should take place by 2016.
The new vessels ordered from France will provide a major boost to Mozambique’s small 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.
The order was well timed for CMN, which was struggling with a small order book and was about to lay off staff. It was the biggest contract in the company’s history.
Mozambique is paying for the vessels with money from loans from Credit Suisse and VTB Capital, Bloomberg reports. Last year Mozambique set up Empresa Mocambicana de Atum SA, or Mozambican Tuna Co., (Ematum), which secured a $500 million loan from Credit Suisse and $350 million from VTB Capital. Ematum is 34% owned by the Institute for the Management of State Holdings (IGEPE). The other shareholders are the state fishing company Emopesca and GIPS (Management of Investments, Holdings and Services), with 33% each. GIPS was set up in December 2011, and its main shareholder is the social services of the State Intelligence and Security Service (SISE).