Tuesday, April 8, 2014

After Long Delay, New Off-Shore Patrol Vessel is Launched

OPV Marinero Fuentealba
The Asmar shipyard has launched the Navy's newest off-shore patrol vessel. OPV 83 Marinero Fuentealba is scheduled for delivery by the end of the year. The ship, based on the German Fassmer OPV 80 design, displaces 1,771 tons and can sail for up to 30 days, with a range of 8,000 nautical miles. Its maximum speed is 20 knots. A hangar and landing pad can accommodate a light helicopter. The Fuentealba is the third of five off-shore patrol vessels Chile is building. The first two were delivered in 2007 and 2009, but the third ship was delayed as Asmar rebuilt its shipyard after the February 2010 earthquake and tsunami. In fact, this is Asmar's first new construction since that devastating disaster. The Fuentealba has a larger 76mm Oto Melara gun than its sister ships (which have 40 mm guns), and a reinforced hull for operations in the cold waters around its future base in Punta Arenas. The OPVs are used to guard territorial waters, provide assistance, protect the marine environment and conduct search and rescue missions.

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