The Republic of Togo has accepted from France two semi-rigid Silinger patrol boats initially meant for the Libyan Coast Guard.
In February 2019, France pledged to donate six 12 metres Silinger patrol boats to Libya to rebuild it’s maritime capabilities.
The French Government refused to deliver the boats to Libya after allegations that they would be used to apprehend migrants at sea and return them to overcrowded detention centres.
The two Silinger patrol boats will be used to tackle piracy in the coastal region. They were handed over on 10 November at the Lomé naval base, with the French Ambassador Jocelyne Caballero, the Minister of Defence Essozimna Gnakadè, and the Chief of General Staff of the Togolese Armed Forces, Major General Abalo Kadangha in attendance.
The Silinger boats and the forthcoming training of Togolese sailors will help develop Togo’s rapid intervention capability against maritime piracy. A first rapid intervention unit should be operational from the end of 2020, says the French Embassy.
The French Navy’s amphibious helicopter carrier Dixmude ferried the two boats to Togo, the Dixmude subsequently took part in a Franco-Togolese patrol with the Togolese patrol boat Agou.
The Silinger boats are the Rafale model which are are 12 metres long and capable of carrying six sailors, they weigh 2 400 kg, has a payload of 5,120 kg and can be powered by two or three outboard engines.
French and Senegalese instructors will provide a one-month training in boat piloting and rapid intervention for the benefit of Togolese sailors.
“This cooperation between the Togolese and French navies is long-term and contributes to an objective of economic development. Togo stands out for its exemplary involvement in the fight against maritime piracy which is rampant in the Gulf of Guinea and which is a brake on trade. Improving maritime safety contributes to the competitiveness of the port of Lomé, West Africa’s leading container port. It strengthens the potential for regional economic integration as well as Togo’s place as a logistics hub, which contributes to the attractiveness of the country as well as to job creation, particularly in industry, in accordance with the objectives of the National Plan of development,” the French Embassy said.