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Cameroon receives new offshore patrol vessel

28 March 2017
Dipikar joins the Cameroonian Navy as its new flagship. Source: Cameroon Ministry of Defence

The Cameroonian Navy has received its new offshore patrol vessel (OPV) CNS Dipikar (P 107), which arrived at the Douala naval base in the last week of February, a Cameroonian military source told Jane's.

Dipikar departed Toulon, France, aboard the Dutch transport vessel Happy Diamond on 10 February to minimise wear on the vessel, the French website Mer et Marine reported.

Colonel Didier Badjeck, spokesman for the Cameroonian Ministry of Defence, told Jane's that Dipikar 's delivery will strengthen country's maritime capabilities.

The new vessel is joining the 212th Combat Division of the 21st Combat Flotilla based in Douala, according to Cameroonian presidency documents accessed by Jane's.

Dipikar started life in 1991 as Grèbe, a French Navy patrol vessel that first operated in the Atlantic before relocating in 1997 to Toulon for operations in the Mediterranean. In French service, the ship served mainly in the fishery control, search and rescue, and anti-pollution roles.

Grèbe was withdrawn from service in 2010 and subsequently purchased by the French company SOFEMA with the aim of offering it for sale to a foreign country. After being sold to Cameroon, the ship was sent in 2012 to a Tunisian shipyard in Bizerte to be refurbished and modernised.

However, difficulties arose and the vessel was sent back to Saint-Mandrier in France in 2014 for the refitting to be conducted by IMS Shipyard, which was also tasked with fitting the vessel with a new twin 20 mm main gun and integrating a new command-and-control system provided by Nexeya.

The chief of staff of the Cameroonian Navy, Rear Admiral Jean Mendoua, approved its delivery after inspecting the vessel during a visit he made to Toulon between 21 November and 3 December 2016.

The vessel is 52 m long, has a beam of 9.8 m, and a displacement of 410 tonnes when fully loaded.

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