Last of the Cacines
Here we see the Portuguese Navy Cacine-class coastal patrol vessel patrol craft (patrulha) NRP Zaire (P1146) off the African archipelago nation of Sao Tome e Príncipe, a former colonial possession of Portugal which maintains strong economic and military ties with Lisbon.
Built in 1969 as part of a class of 10 vessels, she has been used in fisheries protection role (SIFICAP) and search and rescue (SAR) roles in addition to defense patrol taskings, the Cacine-class replaced the WWII-era craft used by the Portuguese until the disco era and were built at Estaleiros Navais do Mondego (Figueira da Foz, Portugal) and the Arsenal do Alfeite over a half-decade period.
Some 157-feet long overall, they could float in 7 feet of saltwater. These 300-ton OPVs were powered by a pair of Maybach (later MTU) diesel engines which gave them enough speed (20-knots) to overtake poaching trawlers and illegal coasters landing guns to African rebel groups (Portugal was involved in a series of crazy colonial brush wars when the Cacines were produced). To help with their tasking on Africa patrol, they had a decent range of some 4,500nm.
In the interest of saving cash, the Portuguese used recycled WWII deck guns for these boats and gave each Cacine a 40mm/L60 Bofors single forward and a 20mm/80 Oerlikon over the rear along with a pair of MG3 machine guns.
Over the past several years, all of the Cacines have been put to pasture, replaced by the new and significantly larger (1,600-ton/272-feet) Viana do Castelo-class OPV
Zaire was the final to go, is decommissioning this month and her crew final crew is being decorated by the Sao Tome government for their efforts at saving lives and stopping poachers.