Colombian Navy launches third offshore patrol vessel ARC Santander

Colombian state-owned shipbuilder Cotecmar launched the third offshore patrol vessel for the Colombian Navy, during a December 1 ceremony in Cartagena.

The vessel was named ARC Santander and christened in the presence of the Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.

ARC Santander is the third of six offshore patrol vessels built indigenously for the Colombian Navy. Construction of the vessel started in December 2014.

According to the Spanish-language website InfoDefensa, the vessel features several improvements over its two predecessors, ARC 20 de Julio and ARC 7 de Agosto. It has an upgraded armament with a 76 mm OTO Melara gun and a 25 mm M242 Bushmaster auto-cannon.

The ship is also capable of reaching greater speeds and has an enlarged flight deck which can now embark an organic medium helicopter.