Nautic Africa launches OPS 241 vessel for Nigeria


Nautic Africa has launched another militarised cargo/utility vessel for Nigeria. It will be based at Port Harcourt and used for a variety of duties, including cargo shipment, patrol and crew transfer.

The OPS 241 multi-role crew/cargo vessel was launched in Simonstown and departed for Nigeria late last month.

OPS 241 has a length of 24.6 meters and is the second largest vessel built in Simonstown by Nautic Africa, the largest being OPS 301, with an overall length of 30 meters. This was launched in January 2011.

Last year Nautic Africa delivered two crew transfer vessels, OPS 301 and OPS 204, to a Nigerian company servicing an oil and gas client. Three similar vessels will be delivered this year, including OPS 241. They are privately owned but are crewed by the Nigerian Navy and provide services to oil companies in the region.

Designed by Nautic Africa, OPS 301 and OPS 204 have a length of 30 metres and 24 metres respectively, with capacity for 24 passengers.
“Demand for fast, ballistic protected craft keeps growing,” Nautic Africa CEO James Fisher told Maritime Revue Africa earlier this year. “In 2012 we will be opening offices in Ghana and Nigeria so that we can more efficiently service our expanding regional client base. Part of this strategy will include ongoing client training and technical support. We also plan to supply contract workers in the form of deck and engine room crew going forward.”

OPS 241 serves as a high speed militarised, utility/cargo vessel capable of reaching speeds of up to 26 knots, Nautic Africa said. Strategic parts of the vessel are ballistically protected against small arms fire. A double bridge was fitted, incorporating Nautic Africa’s composite ballistic panels and ballistic glass for full 360° of NIJ III protection.

OPS 241 is built from aluminium and powered by dual MTU engines and MJP water jets.

Nautic Africa said that the aft console has been ergonomically arranged to provide a complete view of the cargo area on the aft deck, enabling the crew to safely load and unload cargo at sea. A VCS (Vector Control System) station was fitted on the aft console, allowing the captain to utilize the full potential of the highly manoeuvrable water jets when in close quarters with offshore structures.

OPS 241 will be required to operate at sea for up to 28 days, refuelling at offshore oil platforms. 13 berths are located below deck to accommodate crew, security and oil industry personnel.

Fisher told defenceWeb that his company had secured an order for three vessels from another client in the region. The first will be launched in October, the second in January next 2013 and the third around this time next year.

Fisher said that his company had been receiving more orders from the West African region and was taking over from traditional suppliers located in Singapore and China. “Since we’ve started supplying quality boats to the region the Nigerian Navy has taken notice of that…they realise they can get the vessels they need from us.”

Nautic Africa is in the final stages of concluding a contract to supply vessels to the Nigerian Navy. Fisher said the vessels, 100% designed in South Africa, would offer the Navy “a lot more boat for their money.”