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Angola inaugurates Soyo Naval Base

An Ocean Eagle 43 patrol vessel is seen with an unusual weapon during the inauguration of Angola's Soyo Naval Base. A 12-tube launcher mounted on the deck behind the bridge is obscured by the sailors standing in front of it. (Centro de Imprensa da Presidência da República de Angola)

Angola's President João Lourenço formally inaugurated the expanded naval base at Soyo on 10 July, the 47th anniversary of the Angolan Navy.

Located at the mouth of the Congo River in the far north of Angola, the Soyo base is far better located than the main naval base in Luanda for protecting the country's offshore oilfields, countering smugglers and pirates, and supporting operations in the country's Cabinda exclave to the north.

The project was carried out under a EUR270 million (USD297.1 million) contract awarded to the Portuguese company Mota-Engil Group in 2019, with financing guaranteed by the Portuguese government. It included dredging the access channel, constructing a new wharf and piers, and constructing new buildings, making the facility significantly larger than Luanda Naval Base.

“This naval base will contribute to the fight against piracy, the fight against illegal immigration, and the different types of trafficking: human trafficking, and particularly fuel trafficking, which as we know, Soyo city, unfortunately, in terms of fuel smuggling, is the champion,” the president said during a press conference during the inauguration.

One journalist asked the president why Angola was working with Privinvest when Mozambique incurred a massive debt after it bought naval and fishing vessels from that company.

Lourenço said the Angolan government had carried out due diligence before concluding that Privinvest was “an ideal company”, which he noted owned major European naval shipyards and has already delivered vessels to the Angolan Navy.

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