Navy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The National Navy (French: Marine nationale) is the maritime component of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). It is a brown-water navy, which is currently commanded by Vice Admiral Rombault Mbuayama Nsiona.

National Navy
Marine nationale
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg
Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Country Democratic Republic of the Congo
RoleProtection of waters of DR Congo
  • 6,700 personnel
  • 16 ships
Part ofArmed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Command locations
Chief of StaffVice Admiral Jean-Marie Valentin Matalinguma


Ordinance no.70/295 of 9 November 1970 fixed the organization of the Coast, River, and Lake Guard, after it had been created by ordonnance-loi 70/060 of the same day. A coast guard was headquartered at Banana, the River Guard at Kinshasa and the Lake Guard at Kalemie. Some five years later, however, the organization became the Force Navale Zairoise.[1]

Before the downfall of Mobutu Sese Seko, Zaire operated a small navy on the Congo river with a few facilities on the Atlantic coast. It consisted of 1,300 personnel, including 600 marines. One of its installations was at the village of N'dangi near the presidential residence in Gbadolite. The port at N'dangi was the base for several patrol boats, helicopters and the presidential yacht.[2][3]

The 2002 edition of Jane's Sentinel described the Navy as being "in a state of near total disarray" and stated that it did not conduct any training or have operating procedures.[4] The Congolese navy shares the same discipline problems as the other services. It was initially placed under command of the MLC when the transition began: the current situation is uncertain.

The Congolese navy took part in an exercise overseen by United States Army troops in 2010 in Lake Tanganyika, to verify that it met African Union standards.[5]

During the Dongo conflict in the northwestern DRC, a number of navy personnel fled across the Congo River to the nearby Republic of the Congo as refugees, along with many civilians.[6]

A FARDC sailor (left) with MONUSCO peacekeepers training on Lake Tanganyika. The former is wearing the insignia of a chief petty officer.

In September 2017 the Congolese navy supported army operations against a Mai-Mai militia and sunk a rebel boat in Lake Tanganyika.[7]

On 5 July 2018, the Congolese navy fought a skirmish against the Ugandan navy in Lake Edward after Ugandan vessels attacked Congolese fishing boats. Several people were killed in the clashes. The naval forces in the area on the Congolese side are commanded by Major Jean Tsongo. The Congolese navy in the area is also tasked with keeping rebels from Uganda from entering the DRC.[8][9][10]


A FARDC naval patrol on Lake Kivu in 2012

The 2007 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships states that the Navy is organised into four commands, based at Matadi, near the coast; the capital Kinshasa, further up the Congo river; Kalemie, on Lake Tanganyika; and Goma, on Lake Kivu.[11]

The IISS, in its 2007 edition of the Military Balance, confirms the bases listed in Jane's and adds a fifth base at Boma, a coastal city near Matadi.

In 2018 it was reported that the Chinese assisted the DRC with creating a naval base at the seaport town of Banana.[12]

Various sources also refer to numbered Naval Regions. Operations of the 1st Naval Region have been reported in Kalemie,[13] the 4th near the northern city of Mbandaka,[14] and the 5th at Goma.[15]

The IISS lists the Navy at 1,000 personnel and a total of eight patrol craft, of which only one is operational, a Shanghai II Type 062 class gunboat designated "102". There are five other 062s as well as two Swiftships which are not currently operational, though some may be restored to service in the future. According to Jane's, the Navy also operates barges and small craft armed with machine guns.[16] It was reported that China had been providing military assistance to the DRC since 2008, and that included providing repairs and maintenance on the Shanghai gunboats in the FARDC navy.[12]

Known chiefs of staffEdit


Commissioned officer ranksEdit

The rank insignia of commissioned officers.

Rank group General/flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
  Navy of the DR Congo
Grand amiral Amiral Vice-amiral Contre-amiral Capitaine de vaisseau Capitaine de frégate Capitaine de corvette Lieutenant de vaisseau Enseigne de vaisseau Enseigne de vaisseau de 2e classe

Other ranksEdit

The rank insignia of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel.

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
  Navy of the DR Congo
                  No insignia
Maître chef principal Premier maître chef Maître chef Premier maître Second maître Maître Quartier maître Premier matelot Second matelot Matelot Recrue


  1. ^ Ordonnance no. 75/128 du 19 mars 1975 portant creation et organisation de la Force Navale Zairoise, JOZ no. 13, du 1 July 1985, 665-666.
  2. ^ L'Express, 22. December 2008, page 13
  3. ^ Zaire - Navy. Country Data.
  4. ^ Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment—Central Africa. Issue 11—2002. Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group.
  5. ^ George Allen, [1], AFRICOM, 2010
  6. ^ Conflict in the DRC causes refugee problem
  7. ^ Ross, Aaron (28 September 2017). Congo naval boats battle rebels on Lake Tanganyika. Reuters. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  8. ^ 7 killed in clashes between DR Congo, Ugandan navies: Congolese governor. The East African. Published 6 July 2018.
  9. ^ 11 killed, seven missing as tensions rise in DR Congo's east. Published 7 July 2018.
  10. ^ One killed, three wounded after clashes near Congo-Uganda border. Reuters, published 6 July 2018.
  11. ^ Saunders, Stephen (ed.). Jane's Fighting Ships Vol. 110, 2007–2008. Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group. p. 163.
  12. ^ a b Wondo, Jean-Jacques (23 May 2018). Joseph Kabila continues to over-equip his regime militarily for the upcoming political deadlines – JJ Wondo. Desc-wondo.
  13. ^ DanChurch Aid, Destruction of stockpiles in Kalemie Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine, 2 May 2006
  14. ^ Hilaire Kayembe, Naufrage dans une rivière à Mbandaka, Le Potential, 7 August 2006
  15. ^ Human Rights Division / MONUC, Monthly Human Rights Assessment: April 2007, 17 May 2007. The HR report stated a Goma student was shot by a soldier of the 5th Naval Region for refusing to hand over a cellphone.
  16. ^ Saunders, Stephen (ed.). Jane's Fighting Ships Vol. 110, 2007–2008. Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group. p. 163.
  17. ^ a b c MAJOR RE-SHUFFLE OF MILITARY AND POLICE LEADERSHIP. US State Department cable (07KINSHASA671_a), 15 June 2007.
  18. ^ a b Supreme Defense Council welcomes good performance of the FARDC Embassy of DR Congo in India. Published 6 November 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  19. ^ Supreme Defense Council says security is higher (In French) Digital Congo. 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  20. ^ Joseph Kabila meets with security council (In French) Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine Digital Congo. Published 5 November 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2015.