French boatbuilder Ocea recently delivered two type FPB72 fast patrol boats to the Nigerian Navy and won a new order placed by the same client. The all-aluminium FPB72 is 24m long with a beam of 5.8m. It has a top speed of 35 knots and a range of 600nm at 12kts, carries ten personnel and a fast RIB, and is armed with machineguns. The hulls were produced by Ocea’s Fontenay-le-Comte yard and fitted out at Sables d’Olonne, both on France’s Atlantic coast. On completion, the boats were sent to Saint-Nazaire where they were loaded onto the deck of a cargo ship bound for Nigeria.
Ocea delivered three type FPB72 craft to the Nigerian Navy in 2012 followed by a 32-metre type FPB98 in 2013. The latest order is for three more type FPB72s, while the group also holds an order by the same client for two FPB110 MkIIs currently under construction. These 35-metre FPBs are based on ten similar boats delivered to Kuwait between 2003 and 2005, the main difference between the two versions being in their propulsion systems. More specifically, the Nigerian FPB110 MkIIs will have conventional twin screws and shaftlines instead of waterjets.
One of the FPB110s ready for delivery to Kuwait in the early 2000s (© Mer et Marine - Vincent Groizeleau)
The two FPB110 MkIIs and the three additional FPB72s are scheduled for delivery in early 2018. Like the boats just delivered, the hulls will be built at Fontenay-le-Comte and fitted out at Sables d’Olonne. Whereas hulls produced by the Fontenay yard were previously fitted out at Saint-Nazaire, this is no longer possible as the yard is fully booked. Working under subcontract to STX France, Ocea’s Saint-Nazaire yard produces structures for cruise ships, including chimneys and radar masts.
Although the value of the orders booked fell in 2016, it recovered in 2017. Today, all the Ocea yards, including La Rochelle, have healthy workloads. In addition to the FPBs on order for Nigeria, the orderbook counts six other FPBs and passenger vessels. The group hopes to win a new order for five FPB98s and is actively working on crew boat and yacht projects.
Original by Vincent Groizeleau, translated and adapted by Steve Dyson