Second Dearsan offshore patrol vessel launched for Nigerian Navy

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Turkish shipyard Dearsan has launched the second and final 76 metre offshore patrol vessel (OPV) for the Nigerian Navy (NN), six months after the first.

The launch on 19 April at Dearsan’s shipyard in Turkey was described by the shipbuilder as “a major step forward in enhancing Nigeria’s maritime defence and security capabilities.” The launch ceremony was attended by Nigeria’s First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu; Minister of State for Defence Bello Muhammed Matawalle; President of Secretariat of Defence Industries of Turkey, Haluk Görgün; Turkey’s Deputy Minister of National Defence Şuay Alpay; and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

Speaking at the event, Ogalla said, “Dearsan Shipyard is constructing two OPVs for the NN and the first OPV was launched here on 26 October 2023. I am particularly pleased that the milestones on the vessel construction have been met and I hereby appreciate the management of Dearsan Shipyard for their efforts so far”.

The Nigerian Navy said construction of the vessel will boost its fleet renewal efforts for fulfilment of her constitutional mandate and ensure maximum presence at sea to curb illicit acts such as oil theft, piracy, sea robbery, illegal fishery as well as smuggling of small arms and light weapons among other crimes in the vast 84 000 square nautical miles of Nigeria’s maritime environment. “It will also facilitate harnessing the enormous potentials within Nigeria’s maritime domain in support of the Federal Government’s Blue Economy initiatives.”

According to Dearsan, the OPV 76 vessels have been tailored to meet the specific requirements of the Nigerian Navy. Each vessel has a length of 76.8 metres, a beam of 11 metres, and a draft of 2.9 metres. The crew consists of 43 sailors, and the steel-hulled vessels displace 1 100 tons. The aft deck can accommodate a medium-size helicopter. Two RHIBS will be carried for interdiction and other tasks.

Armament includes a Marlin 40 (40 mm) main gun, Aselsan 30 mm Muhafiz remote controlled stabilized naval gun and 12.7 mm STAMP remotely controlled weapon station (RCWS).

Combat equipment will include an Aselsan MAR-D naval search radar and Aselsan DenizGozu-AHTAPOT (Sea Eye-Octopus) electro-optical/infrared system. Havelsan will supply its Advent combat management system and its GVDS ship data distribution system while Yaltes will supply operator consoles.

Four MAN 18VP185 diesel engines in a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) configuration will give a maximum speed of 28 knots and a range of 2 500 nautical miles/endurance of 16 days. Crew complement is 47.

Nigeria’s contract for the two OPV 76 vessels was first announced in November 2021. At the time, the Nigerian Navy said Dearsan was selected based on its track record and cost-effective pricing and the acquisition is part of the Nigerian Navy’s fleet renewal effort in line with its 2021-2030 Strategic Plan.

After securing the offshore patrol vessel contract, Dearsan Shipyard in June 2023 signed an agreement with the Nigerian Navy for the mid-life upgrade of its flagship, the NNS Aradu, and the supply of a 57 metre long Tuzla-class patrol vessel.

The refurbishment and project for the NNS Aradu, originally built by German shipyard Blohm & Voss in 1982 and commissioned in 1985, will be conducted at Dearsan Shipyard’s facility in Tuzla. The NNS Aradu is a Meko 360 class vessel with a length of 125 metres and displacement of 3 500 tons.

Sources indicate that the Tuzla class vessel was initially intended for Libya; however, due to unforeseen complications, the delivery could not be completed. Once the delivery is completed, the Nigerian Navy will become the fourth to operate Tuzla-class vessels, following the Turkish Naval Forces, Turkmenistan Navy, and Turkmenistan Coast Guard Command.