Nigeria Procures Two Patrol Vessels from Turkish Shipyard

Dearsan OPV 76 (Dearsan illustration)

Published Nov 8, 2021 12:13 AM by The Maritime Executive

Nigeria is set to acquire two new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) from Turkey just weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan committed to help the West Africa nation fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Two weeks after President Erdogan visit to Nigeria as part of a three-nation Africa visit that included Angola and Togo, the Nigerian Navy announced it has signed a contract with Turkish company Dearsan Shipyard for the purchase of two OPVs.

The high endurance vessels will have the capability to carry out maritime interdiction operations, surveillance and special forces operations. They are set for delivery in 2024 and will be deployed for patrol activities in the Gulf of Guinea as part of Nigeria’s heightened efforts to crack down on piracy.

“The OPVs will also be capable of conducting search and rescue operations, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and anti-drug trafficking operations and disaster relief operations among others,’’ said .

Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, Nigeria’s Chief of the Naval Staff, said that the 250-foot vessels will also have the capability and flexibility to be outfitted with sensors and weapons for warfare and maritime defense purposes.

The contract comes days after Nigeria and Turkey committed to deepen bilateral relations. "We are strengthening our cooperation on military defense and security issues with Nigeria, which is fighting against terrorist organizations, armed gangs and piracy,” said President Erdogan in Abuja last month.

Anti-piracy success

In recent months, Nigeria's concerted efforts to tackle the menace of piracy have been bearing fruit. The International Maritime Bureau (IBM) announced that the global count of piracy incidents - long driven by dismal statistics from the Gulf of Guinea - are at the lowest levels in decades.

IMB’s latest global piracy report shows that the Gulf of Guinea region recorded 28 incidents of piracy and armed robbery in the first nine months of this year compared to 46 for the same period in 2020. Nigeria only reported four incidents in comparison to 17 in last year and 41 in 2018.

“The Nigerian Navy has proved its dominant status in the region by sustaining an aggressive presence in the nation’s maritime environment, leading to a reduction in acts of criminality,” said Adm. Gambo.