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Vittoria Shipyard launches OPV for Malta

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Vittoria Shipyard president Luigi Duò: “We have given this prestigious project all our experience and expertise, the maximum care and the best resources, workers and technicians.”

Built for the Government of Malta, the longest Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) thus far constructed by Italy’s Vittoria Shipyard was launched into the Bianco Canal February 27 in a traditional blessing and “christening by water” ceremony.

Vessel is longest OPV thus far built by Vittoria Shipyard

Designed as well as built by Vittoria Shipyard, the 75-meter OPV P71 will be the flagship of the Armed Forces of Malta and will carry out coastal monitoring operations, extended patrol missions offshore and search and rescue operations.

The shipyard won the EUR 48.5 million (about $59 million) contract for the ship in an international competitive bidding process. The EU is providing about 75.5% of the funding for the vessel.

“I am proud and honored to officiate at moment so important in the life of any ship,” said Vittoria Shipyard president Luigi Duò at the launch ceremony at which Malta was represented by Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi, commander of the armed forces.

With a full-load displacement of 1,800-metric tons, an overall length of 74.8 meters, a beam of 13 meters and a draft of 3.8 meters, the P71 will carry a crew of 50 with accommodations for an additional 20 personnel.

The platform features an integrated bridge system in an elevated position with a 360-degree view and sheltered side passageways for personnel on the main deck and around the bridge.

The OPV features a stern flight deck, without a hangar but with the capacity to refuel a 7-metric ton helicopter, such as the AW139 in service with the Armed Forces of Malta.

There are doors on the flight deck for the loading/unloading of supplies with a purpose-made davit installed on the port side of the ship.

The aft end below the flight deck has a launch and recovery control station for a 9.1-meter RHIB with additional space for supplies and personnel. A further 9.1-meter RHIB station is located on the starboard side of the platform in the central area of the vessel. Both RHIBs are capable of a maximum speed of more than 40 knots

The hybrid propulsion system of the P71 is based on two diesel engines, 5,440 kW each, two electric motors, and two shafts driving variable-pitch propellers to provide the vessel with a speed of more than 20 knots.

The vessel is equipped with bow and stern thrusters as well as active-fin stabilizers.

Designed and built under ABS supervisiob, the P71 will be armed with a remote-controlled 25 mm gun mount and various caliber light machine guns, while the integrated command, control, and navigation system includes a 2D surveillance radar and satellite communications system.

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