France’s Ufast shipyard has handed over the 33 metre long RPB 33 patrol boat Taouay to Senegal’s Navy.
It was formally transferred in a ceremony at Quimper, France, on 30 March. It left Quimper on 3 April, headed for Dakar, with a technical stopover in Agadir. It is crewed by 13 Senegalese sailors, who were medically isolated for a week before the voyage home.
Once in Senegal it will be operated on behalf of the High Authority for Maritime Security, Maritime Safety and Marine Environment (HASSMAR) by the Senegalese Navy.
The vessel was ordered in 2018 and construction began the following year. After 30 000 hours of work, the vessel was launched on 12 February ahead of sea trials.
Senegal had previously received another RPB 33 (the Ferlo), in 2013.
The 33.73 metre long, 6.5 metre wide vessels are powered by two 1 100 hp MAN engines, giving a top speed of 22 knots and a range of 1 500 miles at 15 knots for an endurance of one week at sea. A rear ramp is able to launch a 6.2 metre long aluminium-hulled boat, also manufactured by Ufast. Built out of an aluminium superstructure and glass fibre reinforced composites, the RPB 33 features a bridge design which allows for 360 degree surveillance. Armament on the Senegalese vessels will most likely comprise a 20 mm cannon and 12.7 mm machineguns.
“The acquisition of this patrol vessel, which will strengthen my country’s naval fleet, attests to the firm political will of the President of the Republic of Senegal to make maritime areas under national jurisdiction safe and conducive to the development of a true blue economy sustainable, especially in a context of progressive maritimization of our national economy. Indeed, in a few years, we will certainly witness a gradual shift in the centre of gravity of our economy from the continent to the sea. We must therefore prepare for it and, consequently, to support this development, Senegal has undertaken to modernize and develop its naval forces. And the French shipyards played an important part in it, in particular that of Quimper,” said Abdou Sene, Secretary General of HASSMAR.
Senegal is also due to receive three Piriou OPV 58S offshore patrol vessels for the Navy, with steel cut for the first vessel in October 2020. Piriou said construction would take place over 44 months, and conclude in mid-2024, with first deliveries from 2023.