A 35 metre Sentinel patrol vessel designed and built by Cape Town-based Nautic Africa withstood a pirate attack off the coast of Nigeria at the end of September that involved taking fire from AK-47 assault rifles.
The vessel and crew succeeded in thwarting an ambush attempt by pirates who attacked the vessel from the front, Nautic Africa, a Paramount Group company, said. “Proving that the 35m Sentinel patrol vessel is properly armoured for its task, the crew managed to escape the attack unscathed,” the company said in a statement.
“The demand for fast, rugged and highly ballistic protected vessels is particularly strong among African countries on the east and west coasts that are affected by incidents of piracy, drug trafficking, oil theft and/or illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as other illicit offshore activities,” said James Fisher, Executive Chairman of Nautic Africa.
“Ballistic protection has become a must in many African markets in order to guarantee the safety of the crew and passengers,” Fisher said, adding that Nautic pioneered the use of ballistic protection in the oilfield support market. “We have invested substantially in providing market-leading capabilities in this area.”
“We are particularly grateful that one of our vessels met and delivered the required protection for crew who are susceptible to the dangers of these areas,” he said. “Nautic Africa is very confident in the knowledge these security vessels, which are manufactured using the lifesaving ‘Super Shield’ composite structure, will provide significant ballistic support from AK-47 gunfire. Nautic Africa’s STANAG Level 1 Ballistic Protection is standard on all platform security vessels.”
The vessels are primarily used for security and transfer of crew and cargo off the coast of Nigeria, and can also be used for various other roles such as dive support, environmental protection and patrol.
The Sentinel vessels are constructed with 5083 aluminium plates while the bridge is fitted with Nautic’s patented SuperShield Ballistic Structure. This provides protection against small arms such as AK-47 assault rifles.