Morocco to receive oceanographic vessel from France


French shipyard Piriou is set to build an oceanographic vessel for Morocco, which will be based on the French Navy’s B2M model.

This is according to French maritime publication Le Marin, which reported that the deal has been signed but will only be confirmed by month end. Piriou earlier said it was in serious discussions with Morocco over the vessel.

France has ordered four of the type, with two already delivered. The first, D’Entrecasteaux, set sail for its home port of Noumea, New Caledonia, in the Pacific Ocean on 11 May. The other vessels are destined for French Polynesia and Reunion. They are being built by Kership, a joint venture between DCNS and Piriou.

The Batiment Multi-mission (B2M) class has a top speed of around 15 knots and endurance of 30 days. Several small boats can be carried on board, including an 8 metre workboat, as well as two vehicles. The 2 300 tonne vessels have a crew of 20 and can be armd with two 12.7 mm machine guns.

They are designed to be able to conduct maritime surveillance, force projection, logistics, counter-trafficking and humanitarian assistance missions.

Meanwhile, Piriou will soon deliver a 50 metre landing craft (LCT) to Morocco. The vessel was ordered in mid-2015 and has been completed. Weapons integration began in December last year ahead of delivery in the next few months. The 49.9 metre long and 11 metre wide vessel weights 300 tonnes and has a crew of 22. Two 492 kW engines give a speed of 10 knots. Deck area is 200 square metres. The contract also includes training and maintenance.

Apart from carrying cargo, the landing craft has been designed to produce and store fresh water though reverse osmosis machinery.

The company is also carrying out maintenance on the 64 metre Moroccan patrol boat Rais Bargach, which is one of five built between 1995 and 1997 for the Royal Moroccan Navy.