DISCOVER Magazine #7

A third FCS 3307 patrol boat for the Gulf of Guinea

Published in category: Defence & Security

In February 2017, Homeland Integrated Offshore Services Limited (Homeland) of Nigeria placed an order for a third FCS 3307 Patrol vessel for use in security operations in Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Guinea. Discussions are also ongoing regarding the purchase of a fourth. The third vessel will be named Guardian 3 and will join sister ships Guardian 1 and Guardian 2, which were delivered in February 2014 and November 2015 respectively.

Homeland was founded in 2006 to support international oil companies working in Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas fields by providing a wide range of services both at sea and on shore. 11 years later, it now operates a sizeable fleet that includes fast supply intervention vessels, platform support vessels, anchor handling tug supply ships, security and patrol vessels, and tugs. Led by Managing Director Louis Ekere, the company works with many of the international oil companies (IOCs) active in the region.

100% Nigerian owned, Homeland’s activities extend well beyond logistics into construction, electrical and mechanical engineering, and manpower placement and support, together with pipeline protection and maintenance and the supply of a wide range of spares and ancillary equipment. Its truly integrated approach towards the offshore industry, together with a focus on efficiency and effectiveness, has enabled it to build a loyal and high quality client list in the decade since it began operations.

A high risk area

The Gulf of Guinea has been a major hotspot for piracy and other criminal incursions on board vessels for some years, with dozens of reported events in and around the oil fields over the past 12 months alone. The safety and security of assets and personnel is therefore a major consideration for the oil companies. The piracy situation is different to that off Somalia in the Indian Ocean in that the criminal activity takes place in the territorial waters of the relevant countries rather than in international seas, and so intervention by third-party governments is not an option.

The Nigerian Navy is therefore solely responsible for security off its own coast but, with resources stretched, private security companies are permitted to operate their own vessels under strict guidelines.While the Guardians are themselves unarmed, the presence of armed security personnel on board and their ability to respond rapidly to calls for assistance makes them a valuable addition to the offshore security presence.

The FSC 3307 Patrol features Damen’s trademark Sea Axe bow for superior seakeeping at high speeds of up to 30 knots. Additional features include eighteen bunks for the eight crew plus ten security personnel, a bullet-proof wheelhouse, an internal safe haven, fifteen extra seats for crew transfers, thermal imaging apparatus, a fast rescue craft and a self-cleaning fuel separator to protect the engines and generators from contaminated fuel.

A complete turnkey solution

All the vessels for Homeland are supplied as a complete turnkey solution. Damen is taking care of delivery and crew training, as well as the design and build. An integral part of the contract is also the total care solution that Damen is providing to Homeland. The Damen Service Hub in Port Harcourt has now been open for 2 years and is manned by a technical manager and five specialist engineers, ready to render assistance and undertake a wide range of maintenance and repair tasks with minimal downtime. Stocks of spare parts are also held on site to ensure fast turnarounds.

At present the FCS 3307 vessels are the most advanced patrol vessels operating in Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas fields and, thanks to the excellent performance of Guardians 1 and 2, Homeland has already secured a long-term charter for the latest addition. Already under construction as part of Damen’s build-for-stock policy, Guardian 3 is currently nearing completion.

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