The Nigerian Navy has placed an order for four patrol vessels, two FPB 72 and two FPB 110, with the French shipyard OCEA.
The Navy already has three OCEA FPB 72 boats in its fleet.
The fresh order was confirmed by Fabrice Weinbach, director of maritime safety and security at OCEA, who explained that delivery of both FPB 72s is expected to take place before the end of this year, while the two FPB 110s should be handed over in early 2018.
Weinbach noted that this is the third time Nigeria has ordered ships from OCEA. It received a single FPB 98 Mk II in 2013 and three FPB 72 Mk IIs in 2012, all of which were purchased by the Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, for use by the navy.
The FPB 72 is a 24 m vessel capable of attaining a speed of 35 kt. It can carry a single rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) for boarding operations and can be armed with light and heavy machine guns. It can accommodate up to 12 people including its crew. It is also in service with the Suriname Coast Guard, which operates two units.
The FPB 110 is a 35 m vessel with a maximum speed of 30 kt. It is outfitted to carry a single RHIB and can be armed with heavy machine guns or a 20/30 mm remotely operated cannon. It has room for 17 people, including its crew. Weinbach said that this latter characteristic was one of the reasons why Nigeria selected the type.
The FPB 110 was originally designed in the early 2000s for Kuwait, which is its only operator with 10 vessels in service. The two ships ordered by Nigeria differ from their Kuwaiti ships in that they are to be equipped with conventional propellers instead of waterjets.
OCEA specialises in aluminium construction and as such, both the FPB 72 and FPB 110 have aluminium hulls.