Second Senegalese OPV 58S floated out


French shipyard Piriou has floated out the second OPV 58S offshore patrol vessel (OPV) for Senegal’s Navy, and is now fitting it out.

The vessel was launched from Lanester on 2 February by Kership, a partnership between Piriou and Naval Group. Piriou said the second vessel then proceeded to Concarneau, where it is being fitted out, including with its armament. The first vessel is already being fitted out there.

Piriou cut steel for the first vessel in October 2020 after receiving an order for three OPV 58S vessels in late 2019. The French shipyard said construction would take place over 44 months, and conclude in mid-2024, with first deliveries from 2023. Construction of the hulls is being divided between Concarneau and Lanester, near Lorient, where the Kership shipyard is located.

The contract also includes several years of support in Senegal, with the vessels to be supported in Senegal by Piriou subsidiary Pirou Ngom Senegal, created in October 2017 through a partnership with Ngom & Freres. This facility is dedicated to the maintenance of naval and commercial vessels as well as the construction of small fishing craft.

The OPV 58S offshore patrol vessels for Senegal are 62 metres long, 9.5 metres wide and have a maximum draft of 2.9 metres. They have steel hulls and aluminium superstructures with a 360 degree panoramic bridge, a rapid deployment/recovery system for two boats and be each able to accommodate up to 48 people, including 24 crew members. Top speed is 21 knots with a range of 4 500 miles at 12 knots, for a 25 day endurance.

A large rear deck can accommodate two 20-foot containers, handled by a crane (7.5 t to 8 m). This aft deck will end at the stern with a double ramp for two 7-meter RHIBs.

The vessels will be 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 and possibly two 20 mm Narwhal cannons, although this is not confirmed. France’s Naval Group will supply the combat management system (POLARIS).

The new vessels will be the most capable in Senegal’s Navy, which has been expanding over the last several years. Another recent acquisition is four Shaldag Mk II patrol boats and a single Shaldag Mk V from Israel Shipyards. The first vessel, Anambe, was launched in February 2019 and the second, Soungrougrou, was launched in August 2019. The final two vessels (a Shaldag Mk II and a Mk V – Cachouane and Lac Retba respectively) were delivered in November 2020.

In 2015 Senegal received the 45.8 metre long offshore patrol vessel Kedougou from STX France. This was ordered from Raidco Marine, which subcontracted construction to the STX Lorient shipyard. This was followed a year later by the 58 metre long OPV-190 Fouladou offshore patrol vessel, built by France’s Ocea. In April 2021, France’s Ufast shipyard handed over an RPB 33 to Senegal’s Navy – two were ordered in 2018.