AFM – Arrival of P 71 , largest Patrol Vessel for Malta – 07.11.2022

On Monday 7th November, 2022 at 0751 hrs the 74.8 metres Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) P 71 as C 890 entered Grand Harbour, Malta during her delivery voyage coming from Chioggia, Italy.

She berthed port side alongside at Ras Hanzir Dolphins (RHD).

With a full load displacement of over 2,000 tonnes, 74.8 metres as length overall (loa), beam of 13 metres and a draught of 3.8 metres, the OPV can accommodate a crew of nearly 50 plus an additional 20 personnel. The elevated bridge offers 360-degree visibility and is equipped with ballistic protection according to STANAG 4569 level 2. She was built in Italy by Cantiere Navale Vittoria which is not new to the Squadron. P 71 will be the Armed Forces of Malta’s newest flagship with her missions including coastal and offshore surveillance and search and rescue (SAR) in the central Mediterranean Sea.

Located aft is a helicopter deck with hangar and a launch and recovery ramp for a 9.1-metre rigid inflatable boat (RIB). The starboard amidships section has a davit for the launch and recovery of a second 9.1-metre RIB. The davit also has motion compensation features to allow the RIB to be deployed or recovered even when the OPV is underway. The RIBs are capable of a maximum speed of more than 40 knots and will be used for SAR and sea traffic control operations.

The OPV is powered by two 5,440kW diesel engines that drive controllable-pitch propellers to deliver a maximum speed of over 20 knots. Patrols at lower speeds of between 9 and 12 knots can be accomplished with the aid of two electric motors powered by three 750kW generators. The propulsion arrangement also includes two transverse thrusters, one forward and one aft. Retractable active stabilising fins meanwhile guarantee improved stability and seaworthiness.

Armament includes a remotely operated 25mm autocannon and light machine guns. The integrated command, control, and navigation system consists of a 2D surveillance radar and satellite communications.

Later at 1844 hrs she left Valletta for trials within territorial waters (wtw).

And on Wednesday 9th November at 1322 hrs P 71 entered Marsamxett Harbour for the first time bound to Haywharf Base.

The €48.5 million (US$58.5 million) vessel was co-financed by the EU as part of the 2014-2020 Internal Security Fund (ISF), which was established to implement internal security strategy, cooperation related to law enforcement, and management of the external borders of European countries.

Still flying Italian flag at her stern, P 71 is due to be commissioned in January 2023.

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Published – Tuesday 29th November, 2022