The island nation of Mauritius will take delivery of a new offshore patrol vessel next year, and use it for fighting piracy, illegal fishing and drug trafficking. It was launched at an Indian shipyard earlier this month.
The vessel, named CGS Barracuda, was launched in Kolkata, India, on August 2 by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE). Dignitaries present included K O Fong Weng-Pooran, senior chief executive in the Mauritian prime minister’s office and Mauritian High Commissioner Arye Kumar Juggessar.
Barracuda was ordered on March 4, 2011, at a cost of some $60 million and had its keel laid on April 23, 2013. Jane’s Defence Weekly reports GRSE Managing Director Rear Admiral (retd) A K Verma as saying that the shipyard is expected to delivery the OPV to Mauritius in September next year.
Barracuda displaces 1 300 tonnes and has a length of 74.1 metres and a draft of 3.5 metres. Range is approximately 5 000 nautical miles at her maximum speed of 20 knots. She is powered by two MTU 16V 4000 M53 diesel engines rated at 1 840 kW, each driving two controllable pitch propellers through ZF Marine gearboxes.
Barracuda will patrol Mauritius’s vast exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which covers 1.9 million square kilometres. Its main tasks will be combating piracy, smuggling, illegal fishing and drug trafficking but the vessel will also participate in search and rescue exercises, control pollution and transport cargo.
India and Mauritius have enjoyed good political, economic and military relations. Indian navy vessels often patrol Mauritian waters and India has provided military hardware to the country, such as an HAL Dhruv light utility helicopter in 2009 and a coastal surveillance radar system. Installation of this radar network will start next month. Last year, India donated two Do 228 maritime surveillance aircraft to Mauritius.