New Tunisian offshore patrol vessel arrives


The Tunisian Navy has received the first of its four new Multi Service Offshore Patrol Vessels (MSOPVs) from Damen Shipyards in Romania.

Steel for the MSOPV 1400s Jugurtha (P610) and Syphax (P611) was cut during a ceremony in December 2016 at the Damen yard in Galati, Romania.

According to AIS ship tracking data, the lead vessel Jugurtha left Galati on 3 March and arrived at Tunisia’s Bizerte naval base on 9 March.

Syphax is undergoing sea trials – according to ship tracking data, it undertook several short voyages off the coast of Romania at the end of March. By 6 April Syphax was back at Galati.

Construction of the other two vessels, Hannon and Sophonisbe, is believed to be underway, with deliveries of all four vessels scheduled for the end of this year.

The MSOPV is Damen’s second generation offshore patrol vessel design and was revealed several years ago. It incorporates Damen’s Sea Axe hull shape for superior seakeeping – since the hull is designed to reduce water resistance, the new OPV is fuel efficient and capable of speeds up to 25/26 knots, Damen said.

A Multi-Mission Bay can be equipped with dedicated mission modules (e.g. mission containers) for missions such as counter piracy, counter-drug operations, anti-mining warfare (AMW), search-and-rescue (SAR) etc. The Multi-Mission Bay is also equipped with a nine metre RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat), which can be launched over a dedicated slipway through the rear of the vessel while the OPV is sailing.

The command-and-control centre is located directly behind the bridge. Damen calls this development their Multi-Mission Bridge. Both spaces can be separated by means of a blinded sliding wall.

The Multi-Mission Hangar is capable of storing an 11-tonne NH-90 helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) such as the Boeing ScanEagle. The hangar has been designed so that the OPV crew can deploy either the helicopter or the UAV without having to move either one.

The second generation Damen offshore patrol vessel is available as a standard in four sizes: 75 meter (1400 tonnes), 85 meter (1800 tonnes), 95 meter (2400 tonnes) and 103 meter (2600 tonnes).