OCTOBER 10, 2017 — A 35 m Sentinel patrol vessel designed and built by Cape Town, South Africa, shipyard Nautic Africa withstood a pirate attack off the coast of Nigeria at the end of last month thanks to its high levels of ballistic protection that secured the safety of the crew and ensured the vessel’s uninterrupted operation.
The vessel and crew succeeded in thwarting an ambush attempt by pirates who attacked the vessel from the front armed with AK-47 assault rifles.
Proving that the 35 m Sentinel patrol vessel is properly armored for its task, the crew managed to escape the attack unscathed.
“The demand for fast, rugged and highly ballistic protected vessels is particularly strong among African countries on the east and west coasts that are affected by incidents of piracy, drug trafficking, oil theft and/or illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as other illicit offshore activities,” says James Fisher, Executive Chairman of Nautic Africa, explaining that its design teams work closely with clients to ensure that vessels meet their specific needs.
Nautic Africa pioneered the use of ballistic protection in the oilfield support vessel market.
“Ballistic protection has become a must in many African markets in order to guarantee the safety of the crew and passengers,” says Fisher. “We have invested substantially in providing market-leading capabilities in this area.”
The vessels are primarily used for security and transfer of crew and cargo off the coast of Nigeria, and can also be used for various other roles such as dive support, environmental protection. Because of their versatility and adaptability, they are able to conduct diverse operations and deal with a number of threats within a country’s exclusive economic zone.
They are constructed with 5083 aluminum plates while the bridge is fitted with Nautic’s patented SuperShield Ballistic Structure. This provides protection against small arms such as the AK-47s favored by pirates/
Nautic’s in-house design capability allows for greater levels of customization on new builds to suit specific clients and the shipyard is committed to developing a support network on the continent.