Euronaval 2014 – Piriou hangs ‘for sale’ sign on second-hand P400 patrol craft

French shipbuilding and repair company Piriou is marketing a former French Navy P400 patrol craft for further service overseas.
Available for delivery from early 2015, ex- La Tapageuse – which was purchased speculatively by the company in November 2013 – is currently being overhauled and refitted at Piriou’s Concarneau shipyard in Brittany, northwest France. IHS Jane’s understands that at least two navies have shown serious interest in the vessel, which was retired by the French Navy in July 2012 after 24 years’ service.

“This is a brand new approach,” said Vincent Faujour, general director of Piriou’s services and repair division. “The purchase and refit of this vessel has been entirely financed by Piriou without any customer identified beforehand.”

He continued: “By holding this P400 on stock, we are providing navies with the option of acquiring, at short notice, a fully operational ship with a 15-year service life at a fraction of the cost of a new build. We see a big market for this type of solution in Africa, and also significant interest in southeast Asia.”

Following a period of planning and survey activity at the start of 2014, work to overhaul and refit the vessel began in March. The scope of the ongoing work includes overhauling the hull and deck fittings; installation of new engines, gearboxes, and generator sets; update of onboard equipment and systems; and refurbishing of accommodation spaces. As regards armament, it is anticipated that the ship will be transferred with reconditioned Bofors 40mm/L60 and GIAT F2 20 mm gun mounts.

Faujour told IHS Jane’s that, having examined two different options to re-engine the vessel to reflect potential customer preferences, the decision had been made to install Caterpillar main engines and generator sets, along with Reintjes gearboxes. “We opted for Caterpillar because it is a reliable choice with an extensive global support base,” he said.
The refit of ex- La Tapageuse is scheduled to complete in February 2015. Faujour said that Piriou was looking to sell the ship as part of a wider package that could also include in-service support and the construction of new-build vessels. Alternatively, the company is also considering a deal under which it would purchase and refit additional second-hand P400s for the same customer as more of the class retire from French Navy service in the coming years.

The speculative acquisition, refit, and proposed onward sale of ex- La Tapageuse is somewhat at odds with normal secondhand warship sales, which are by and large negotiated on a government-to-government basis. However, Piriou is confident that the market dynamics have changed such that the near-term availability of a fully overhauled vessel, at a keen price, will appeal to regional navies urgently needing to improve their maritime security capabilities. If successful, the company believes this could lead to additional sales of former French Navy vessels for further service overseas.

Richard Scott/ Paris

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