Written by Guy Martin
Cameroon‚Äôs Navy has taken delivery of two new Spanish patrol boats and a landing craft, providing a major boost to the country in safeguarding its maritime domain.
Cameroon‚Äôs Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Jean Mendoua, commissioned the 23 metre Aresa 2300 landing craft and two 24 metre Aresa 2400 CPV Defender patrol boats at the Cameroon Navy Base in Douala on November 21. The commissioning also included a presentation meeting as well as a tour of the boats while moored at the Naval Base, according to Grup Aresa Internacional.
The Spanish shipbuilding group has worked extensively with Cameroon, supplying a sizeable number of vessels to its Navy, which has 12 Aresa boats in service. This figure includes six Aresa 750 Commandos RIBs – delivered last August -, five 1200 Stealth RIBs and one 1200 Defcon RIB ‚Äì delivered in May 2013. Further deliveries will take place in February when two 32 metre patrol boats will be delivered.
Grup Aresa said that for the Cameroon Navy, the Spanish shipbuilding group is providing two years of technical support, as well as spares and boat refitting services.
Cameroon‚Äôs navy is relatively well equipped in order to secure Cameroon‚Äôs oil installations and prevent maritime crime and is optimised for coastal and river patrol, especially in light of rising levels of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. It has around 40 coastal, inshore and river patrol craft as well as several combat patrol vessels.
The Aresa 2400 CPV Defender is a 24 metre long coastal patrol vessel that can be used for a number of applications such as offshore patrol, border patrol, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling, troop transport, and search and rescue missions, amongst others, according to the manufacturer. The boat is powered by two diesel engines providing 2 800 or 4 800 hp and driving two water jets, giving a maximum speed of 30 knots and an economical speed of 23 knots. The boat has a length of 24.5 metres and a range of 750 nautical miles.
Standard equipment on ARESA 2400 CPV Defender includes an X-band surveillance/navigation radar and electro-optical sensor system for day and night surveillance, optional armour, mounts for 12.7 mm and 20 mm guns and an Aresa 550 Commandos RIB.
The Aresa 2300 Landing Craft is a cargo, troop and roll-on roll-off transport vessel able to carry 32 people aboard. It is powered by two 450 hp diesel engines, and can reach a speed of 12 knots. This 23.30 metre long vessel has a range of 250 nautical miles at 11 knots and features one hydraulic crane (capable of lifting 10 tons), 12.7 mm gun mounts and optional ballistic protection.
Grup Aresa Internacional, established in 1961, manufactures civil and military vessels up to 60 metres in length. It has an established presence in Africa, with service centres in Algeria, Angola, Cameroon and Nigeria. The group is currently host sponsor of the Offshore Patrol Vessels Middle East conference currently underway in Abu Dhabi.