US patrol boats are Nigeria-bound

Firm using Hann patrol boats to ensure oil rig security.

Small firm exports to Africa, James Bond-style

Paul Davidson, USA TODAY

As the Obama administration this week encourages U. S. companies to boost investment and trade in Africa, one small business already was embracing the challenge with gusto.

Hann Powerboats, of Sarasota Fla., recently shifted from making fishing and patrol boats to also churning out high-powered gunboats that are fending off oil pirates off the coast of Nigeria.

Not only does owner Russell Hann find himself embroiled in a James Bond-style drama many days, he’s also negotiating the hurdles of ramping up exports of highly sensitive products to Nigeria, a developing nation notorious for its corruption and often-chaotic bureaucracy.

“It’s the Wild West,” he says.

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