The Togolese Navy has taken delivery of a new 33 metre patrol boat from French naval defence equipment manufacturer Raidco Marine to enhance the operational capacity of its small navy.
Last year Togo ordered two RPB 33 patrol boats, originally slated for delivery in March and July this year.
The first vessel left Lorient on April 1 and after stopping in Agadir, Dakar and Abidjan, arrived in the Togolese capital Lome on April 22. On April 25 the vessel (P763) was named Agou by President Faure Gnassingbe, according to the French embassy in Togo.
President Gnassingbe said the boat will be used to fight maritime crimes within the country’s waters and contribute to the fight against rampant piracy in the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf of Guinea by regional and international naval forces.
He said the boat will be used primarily for maritime patrol, surveillance operations and as a rapid response platform in the event of incidents happening within the country’s maritime domain.
Togo has embarked on a programme to strengthen its naval forces to fight illegal fishing, human trafficking, illegal immigration, piracy and international terrorism.
Built out of an aluminium superstructure and glass fibre reinforced composites, the RPB-33 features a bridge design which allows for 360 degree surveillance. Top speed of the vessel is 22-25 knots and crew complement is 17.
In 2010, the Togolese Navy took delivery of two Defender Class patrol boats from the United States which is keen to strengthen the capacity of the navy as it battles a host of maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea.
In March this year, US Marines assigned to the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Africa group trained Togolese Navy mechanics on how to fix small boat engines. The tiny West African nation’s navy has also benefitted from various naval training programmes conducted in the region by the US, Britain and France as part of an international effort to capacitate local naval forces to tackle maritime piracy and terrorism.
Meanwhile, Raidco Marine head Louis Le Pivainis said the company is due to deliver a 45-metre patrol boat to Senegal in September this year.