French shipyard Ocea is in the process of delivering two FPB 72 patrol boats to the Nigerian Navy.
The vessels, Gongola (P189) and Calabar (P190), were loaded onto the 140 metre freighter Mercs Kelani in the port of St Nazaire, France, at the beginning of January. The vessel subsequetly set sail for Nigeria and after docking in Spain is currently on the way to Lagos where it is scheduled to arrive on 24 January.
The Gongola was seen undergoing sea trials off France in December 2017, according to Mer et Marine.
The Nigerian Navy received two FPB 72s late last year from Ocea – the 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.
In February 2017 it emerged that Nigeria had ordered the two FPB 72s as well as two FPB 110 Mk II coastal patrol vessels. 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.
Nigeria subsequently ordered another three FPB 72s, which will be delivered along with the two FPB 110s by 2018. The Gongola and Calabar are part of the most recent order for three FPB 72s.
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.