On July 16, 2015 unknown assailants attacked an Egyptian Coast Guard d vessel while it was moored at a buoy close to shore on the Mediterranean Sea near the Sinai Peninsula.The attacked vessel is a 25 meter (m) (82ft) Fast Patrol Boat equipped with state-of-the-art navigation and communications systems manufactured by Swiftships,LLC, in Morgan City, Louisiana in 2005.
The vessel was supporting that sea service’s broad mission of onshore protection of public installations near the coast, and the patrol of coastal waters to prevent smuggling and other illegal activities. Ships operating along a coastline often moor to a buoy, or may even anchor, while waiting to enter port or between operational missions.
Swiftships CEO, Shehraze Shah, provided this author with an original equipment manufacturer perspective on the incident and related matters this July 18. Efforts to gain insights on this development from the naval attache at Egypt’s embassy in Washington, DC were unsuccessful.
Shah indicated that Swiftships doesn’t know the full extent of the damage to the patrol boat, “but has been told by the Egyptian Navy(EN) that the vessel was not destroyed nor was the crew killed by the blast as reported by ISIS.”
Swiftshipshas delivered 21 patrol vessels to Egypt. “It’s likely several of Swiftships vessels participated in the recovery and security reinforcement efforts post-attack,” the company’s CEO added.
Shah further speculated the attack will strengthen Egyptian resolve under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to acquire additional assets from the USNavy and Swiftships via Foreign Military Sales to enhance Egyptian security efforts.
Asked if there are any initial plans for the backfit and installation of a new weapon system or even an electronic warfare system on the EN PBs, Shah replied “The attack will increase awareness for missile defense systems and Unmanned Air Vehicles on these vessels. We have already received additional sensor requests from Egypt for the new PB programs to enhance this capability.”
The Egyptian Navy and Coast Guard operates several Swiftships class vessels of various lengths and mission requirements. Additional vessels are currently being constructed in Egypt under a Coproduction Licensing Agreement between Swiftships and the Egyptian government. The coproduction program allows the Egyptian Navy to manufacture Swiftships vessels in country while utilizing the local workforce
SDArabia’s US correspondent