Benin receives US patrol boat


Benin’s navy has taken delivery of a Metal Shark boat from the United States, which will be used to improve maritime security along the coastline of Benin and its neighbours.

The boat was handed over at Benin’s Naval Base on June 26, by US Ambassador Michael Raynor. Several military officers attended the ceremony including the Minister of the Defence, Denis Ali Yerima, and the Minister of the Higher Education and Scientific Research, François Abiola Adebayo, representing the President.

Ambassador Raynor reminded the audience of the negative impact of maritime insecurity on economic development. He noted that, “The handover of the Metal Shark Boat marks an ongoing commitment by the United States to support Beninese Naval Forces – expanding the Navy’s ability to proactively address security threats and provide maritime assistance to neighbouring countries during joint maritime exercises.”

The United States has assisted Benin’s small navy in the past, donating two Defender Class Boats in 2010. It has also partnered on maritime security and criminal justice conferences in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

The Metal Shark boat handed over has a top speed of over 40 knots. Two instructors working for the Metal Shark company were in Cotonou from June 16 to 28 to train Beninese Naval personnel on the operation and maintenance of the boat, the US Embassy in Cotonou said.

Benin’s small Navy has one Patriote class and two Zhuk class boats in its inventory as well as two Matelot Brice Kpomasse class boats and in 2012 received three 32 metre coastal patrol boats from France’s Ocea. The main armament on the latter three boats comprises a 30 mm cannon mounted on the bow. They can reach a speed of approximately 30 knots.

Benin’s navy also has a number of smaller launches/speedboats in service, including three Boston Whaler launchers.

Pic: A Metal Shark delivered to Djibouti by the US.