French Shipyard Ocea will build a hydrographic survey vessel for Nigeria, which will be delivered around late 2019 or early 2020.
According to Mer et Marine, Ocea beat an Indian shipyard for the contract, which will see it manufacture a 60 metre long all-aluminium vessel similar to the Indonesian OSV 190 class. This has a crew of 34, range of 4 400 nautical miles at 12 knots and 115 square metres of laboratories.
The Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office has been looking to acquire a hydrographic survey vessel for the last five years, and in 2013 there was talk of it receiving the 2 054 ton ex-US Navy Survey Ship John McDonnell, but this was auctioned off and converted to the Seafreeze America fishing vessel, which was launched in 2016.
In 2014 Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, said the Nigerian Navy was in the process of acquiring a hydrographic survey vessel and also upgrading the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School. Nigeria’s defence budget has made allocations for the new acquisition – for example the proposed 2018 defence budget allocated N3.4 billion ($9 million) for the ongoing procurement of a hydrographic survey ship.
The Nigerian Navy currently uses the 1 050 ton Bulldog class vessel NNS Lana (A498) for hydrographic survey. Last year the Nigerian Navy acquired two boats for the survey of inland waters – in addition to some 700 km of coastline, Nigeria also has a network of over 3 000 rivers and creeks.
Ocea has delivered a number of vessels to Nigeria over the years, including eight 24-32 metre patrol boats since 2012. Two 35 metre FPB 110 patrol vessels are currently on their way to Nigeria, and should arrive sometime this month.