Mozambican sailors complete training on new interceptor vessels


A group of Mozambican sailors has completed training on the new HSI32 interceptors the country is receiving from France.

French shipyard Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie (CMN), which is building the vessels at its facilities in Cherbourg, completed the training of 34 Mozambican sailors on Friday, after six weeks of theoretical and practical training.

Over the course of two weeks, the sailors made a dozen voyages, with the final trips being under complete Mozambican crew control. After their training, the Mozambican soldiers were awarded diplomas at a ceremony, Mer et Marine reports.

With the completion of personnel training, the first three HSI32 vessels will be delivered to Mozambique by early next year. They will be transported to Africa via a cargo ship. Deliveries are expected to begin in December.

On September 5, 2013, the Mozambican government signed a 200 million euro deal with CMN to build the three Ocean Eagle 43s, three HSI32 interceptors and 24 fishing vessels over a two year period. In January Mozambique ordered another three interceptors, which will be delivered from December 2015 at a rate of one every two months. The first Ocean Eagle was launched on January 22 this year and the first HSI32 was launched at CMN’s facility in Cherbourg on 18 March.

The HSI 32s have a length of 32.2 metres and a width of 6.4 metres. Crew complement is 12. The type is made from aluminium for light weight and agility. Sensor options can include a surveillance radar, electro-optical sensors and a satellite link for transferring images and other data.

The HSI32 interceptors are able to reach speeds of up to 43 knots and can undertake patrols for three days, with a range of 800 nautical miles at 12 knots or 580 nautical miles at 33 knots. Weapon options include a remotely operated 20 mm cannon and two 12.7 mm machineguns. A 4.8 metre 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 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.

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.