The Importance of Offshore Patrol Vessels in Maritime Security


2013-08-29 The USCG is struggling to get its requirements for new offshore patrol cutters funded.

But there is little question that Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) are a key part of any maritime security solution set.

As our partner DefenceWeb has highlighted in an article published on August 29, 2013, the importance of OPVs is a key focus of an African maritime security conference.

Rear Admiral Hanno Teuteberg, the SA Navy’s Chief Director: Maritime Strategy, is one of 31 speakers at the Nigerian Navy’s OPV (offshore patrol vessel) conference that ends today in Lagos.

The two star Admiral, a recent recipient of Brazil’s Naval Order of Merit medal, gave delegates an insight into the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) inshore/offshore patrol vessel project (Project Biro).

While there has been no movement on Project Biro to date, four of the former Warrior Class strikecraft have been refurbished and taken back into service. A request for information on project Biro was issued in 2011.

The South African Navy patrol ship SAS Galeshewe seen port side. Credit: DefenceWeb

A number of shipbuilding companies, including South African Shipyards, Damen Shipyards, DCNS and KND have expressed interest in the project which former SAN chief Director: Maritime Strategy Rear Admiral Bernhard Teuteberg last year indicated would be locally built.

An indication of the importance OPVs and their inshore sisters can play in keeping Africa’s maritime and littoral domain secure came from Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbor, chief of policy and plans for the host navy.

Welcoming delegates he said:

“Many littoral African countries have considerable oil and gas reserves, bountiful fisheries and viable sea lanes of communication.

Despite this, maritime insecurity and illegal activities at sea threaten to undermine the great potential of this continent and therefore no time can be spared in discussing and implementing decisive solutions to our common problems”.

The major themes of the conference, to be followed by a similar three-day event focusing on the Middle East in December, are anti-piracy operations; cost effective OPV and naval systems acquisition; multi-lateral and innovative protection of offshore oil assets; technology transfer and development of domestic ship building facilities and international best practice in OPV operations.

Among papers presented were: the Tanzanian contribution to providing maritime security in the Indian Ocean; Cameroon’s role in increasing maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea; the Spanish Navy’s new OPV Class; the integration of fast intercept craft with OPV operations; Pakistan’s approach to delivering maritime security in its exclusive economic zone and the Nigerian perspective on private sector participation in African maritime security.

Editor’s Note: For our look at Maritime Security please see the following publication which can be viewed here in flipbook format: