Second OPV 58S offshore patrol vessel arrives in Senegal

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The Senegalese Navy’s second of three new OPV 58S offshore patrol vessels has arrived home after a delivery voyage from France.

The Niani arrived at the Admiral Faye Gassama Base in Dakar on 26 December 2023, after being handed over by French shipbuilder Piriou on 14 November.

The first vessel, Walo, was delivered in July 2023, and since then it has been involved in maritime security operations that have seen it board dozens of vessels carrying drugs, mainly to Spain. Other tasks are oil and gas security, combating illegal fishing, emigration, and trafficking.

During the Niani’s handover in France, Piriou Group President Vincent Faujour said the Walo “has participated steadily in maritime border surveillance operations, the protection of offshore oil and gas installations, fisheries surveillance and, above all, the fight against illegal emigration. The entry into service of the Niani will undoubtedly help to strengthen the permanent security posture of the naval forces, of which the 58 S OPVs are the backbone.”

The third and final vessel, Cayor, is receiving its armament in France and should be delivered in the next few months. It was launched in May 2023.

The contract with Senegal, signed in November 2019, covers the acquisition of three offshore patrol vessels. It is being fulfilled by Kership, the joint venture founded by Piriou and Naval Group in 2013. Construction of the hulls was divided between Concarneau and Lanester, near Lorient, where the Kership shipyard is located.

The vessels have a length of 62.2 meters, displacement of 600 tonnes, a top speed of 21 knots and range of 4 500 nautical miles at 12 knots. Endurance is three weeks with a crew of 24, although another 24 personnel can be accommodated.

The OPV 58 S design is based on the ‘C-Sharp’ (Combined-Speeds Hull with All-Round Performances) hull developed by Piriou and Kership, which increases the ship’s endurance and seagoing capabilities. The hull is all-steel with an aluminium superstructure, featuring a 360° panoramic bridge and an aft ramp for the rapid launch and recovery of two rigid-hull inflatable boats. A large rear deck can accommodate two 20-foot containers, handled by a crane (7.5 t to 8 m).

The vessels are armed with four MBDA anti-ship missiles (Marte Mk 2Ns) and the MBDA SIMBAD-RC air defence system with two Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles, along with a 76 mm gun. France’s Naval Group supplies the combat management system (POLARIS).