Spain’s Navantia has received a contract for an offshore patrol vessel for the Royal Moroccan Navy, which is believed to have ordered an Avante class vessel.
Navantia on 8 January announced that the patrol vessel contract will translate to one million hours of work for 250 people for the shipyard in the Bay of Cádiz over the next three and a half years.
The contract was announced by the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, during a visit to the San Fernando shipyard in which she was accompanied by the president of Navantia, Belén Gualda.
“Morocco communicated in April  the specifications of the contract for the construction of the patrol boat, in which shipyards from several countries were interested. Navantia presented its offer in August and a team from the company travelled to Morocco to negotiate the technical and commercial aspects,” Navantia said.
Contract negotiations were entered into in September, with the contract announced on 8 January. Once design has been concluded, construction will begin.
According to Spanish publication El Pais, the vessel is an Avante class OPV of about 1 500 tons displacement, approximately 80 meters in length. It will have a range of around 4 000 miles and accommodate 80 crew.
In January 2020 it was reported that Morocco was negotiating with Navantia for two Avante class offshore patrol vessels for around 260 million euros, including a maintenance agreement. It appears negotiations slowed after Morocco announced it was planning to expand its borders into Spanish territorial waters.
Navantia initially built four Avante vessels for the Spanish Navy (Avante 3000) and four of each class for the Venezuelan Navy (Avante 2200 and Avante 1400). The ships are able to carry out a wide variety of missions such as coastal surveillance and protection, protection of maritime traffic, health assistance to other ships, external firefighting, the fight and control of marine pollution, transport of personnel and provisions, search and rescue operations, rapid intervention, frogmen support, surface defence and passive electronic warfare.
The Avante and systems are specially designed to operate in environmental conditions of high air and seawater temperatures and humidity nearing 100%, according to Navantia.
Nearly 40 years ago Navantia (then Empresa Nacional Bazan) supplied the corvette Lieutenant Colonel Errahmani to Morocco, and Spain delivered four Lazaga-class patrol boats and other smaller vessels.