The Nigerian Navy has received two FPB 72 patrol vessels from France’s Ocea shipyard, and has ordered another three.
The two vessels were seen undergoing tests at St Nazaire at the end of August prior to delivery and were subsequently loaded onto a cargo vessel for transport to Nigeria, reports Meret Marine. They are named NNS Shiroro and NNS Ose (P185 and P186).
The FPB 72s are 24 metres long and 5.8 metres wide. They can reach a speed of up to 35 knots and have a range of 600 miles at 12 knots. Crew is ten. They are equipped with a rigid-hulled inflatable boat on the aft deck.
News of the contract emerged in February this year, when it was revealed that Nigeria had ordered the two FPB 72s as well as two FPB 110 Mk II coastal patrol vessels. The latter are currently under construction. Similar to the vessels delivered to Kuwait, they have conventional propellers rather than water jets. They are 35 metres long and have a maximum speed of 30 knots. They can be fitted with machineguns or a 20/30 mm cannon and a rigid-hulled inflatable boat. Up to 17 people can be carried.
Meret Marine reports that Nigeria has now ordered another three FPB 72s, which will be delivered along with the two FPB 110s by 2018.
Ocea has delivered a number of vessels to Nigeria, including three FPB 72s in 2012 and a 32 metre FPB 98 Mk II in 2013, which were ordered by the Nigerian Port Authority for use by the Nigerian Navy.
They are used to combat maritime crime, oil theft and militant groups that have staged disruptive attacks on oil platforms and pipeline infrastructure. Kidnapping, maritime robbery, human trafficking and drug smuggling are also rampant along the West African coast with over-stretched and poorly equipped regional security forces struggling to control the situation.