Malta signs deal for second offshore patrol vessel

The Armed Forces of Malta have signed a €35 million contract for the construction of a second purpose-built offshore patrol vessel that will be used in patrolling Malta’s territorial waters.

The new vessel will complement the Diciotti-class patrol vessel P61 which was built in 2005 and a former Irish Navy OPV donated to Malta in 2015.

Italian shipbuilder Cantiere Navale Vittoria was selected as the preferred bidder in October 2018 and a contract signing ceremony was held on January 16.

Construction on the new vessel, which will be named P71, is scheduled to start in early 2019 with delivery set for the second half of 2020.

The Armed Forces of Malta said the procurement process for an additional and more capable OPV started in 2015. In June 2016, the European Union announced it would provide €34 million in funding for Malta’s acquisition of a new OPV.

“The response of the shipbuilding industry was overwhelming. This OPV had to have more endurance, better sea keeping and provide better living conditions for our crews,” Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta, Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi said. “Furthermore, we wanted this new OPV to have improved life-cycle costs in order to ensure that its operations could be sustained in an efficient and effective manner along the years, including better fuel consumption and maintenance costs.”

P71 will measure 74.8 meters in length and will be capable of attaining speeds of over 20 knots. According to the Armed Forces of Malta, the vessel will displace 1800 tons.

Photo: Photo: Armed Forces of Malta