The Nigerian Navy has ordered 15 new rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) from Paramount Maritime, after commissioning into service ten RHIBs last month.
Paramount Maritime is set to produce the RHIBs, which include 8.5 metre and 9.5 metre Guardian fast patrol boats, in the Gulf of Guinea, “scaling the facilities in-step with Paramount Group’s proven portable manufacturing model deployed around the world, which not only allows for rapid platform deployment but also serves as a proponent of local manufacturing and job creation in the countries where Paramount operates,” the company said when announcing the order last month. Nigerian personnel will be trained in South Africa before taking skills back home.
James Fisher, chairman of Nautic Africa (whose military business falls under Paramount Maritime), said the company has been working in Nigeria for a decade and this latest contract is not a one-off but a long-term technology transfer.
The RHIBs have various propulsion options, and come with a self-rightening bag and cylinder in the event of capsizing and ballistic protection in the form of removable panels that can be mounted on the port and starboard sides.
Senior Vice President of Paramount Group, Eric Ichikowitz, stated that, “maritime matters have become more and more important in preserving sovereign nations’ territorial integrity and blue economy coastal states such as Nigeria are today taking proactive measures to address issues well beyond piracy. The commitment presented by the Nigerian Navy today is a bold but necessary step to proactively deter attacks against ships in the Gulf of Guinea and along Nigeria’s coastline.
“Under the leadership and stewardship of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe ibas, the Nigerian navy has been substantially increasing the capacity and the capability of Nigerian’s security services…and we look forward to continued and shared growth, both to preserve Nigeria’s economic stability and enhance the region’s defence industrial complex, which as I’ve previously stated, creates significant benefits to the economy through local job creation and training.”
Ichikowitz said he hopes the Nigerian Navy will order additional RHIBs from Paramount. At the beginning of September it commissioned ten RHIBs, which included 8.5 and 9.5 metre Guardian models – another four were commissioned in November 2017.
Paramount said the vessels are ideally suited to either ship to shore, or shore to shore fast patrol and security intervention duties, for both the Nigerian Navy, and the Navy’s Special Boat Services. The vessels will also be used for the military training of Special Forces, rescue and patrol operations and the protection of oil and gas assets.