The keel laying of a patrol vessel for the Finnish Border Guard took place at Baltic Operator -
The keel laying of a patrol vessel for the Finnish Border Guard took place at Baltic Operator
Date of publication: 13.03.2024

On March 12, the shipyard in Gdańsk held a keel laying ceremony for a patrol vessel for the Finnish Border Guard (Rajavartiolaitos). The Finnish Meyer Turku shipyard commissioned the construction and partial retrofitting of the hulls of two Turva-type patrol ships to the Polish company Baltic Operator.

This is the next stage of construction of the ships, which are to be handed over to the ordering party in 2025-2026. The Polish contractor has already cooperated with the Finnish company in the construction of cruise ships among others. Representatives of the Meyer Turku shipyard, the Baltic Industrial Group and Baltic Operator, as well as the staff of the Finnish Border Guard were present during the ceremony. The cutting of sheets for the first ship took place on December 12, 2023, exactly three months earlier.

– Maritime patrol vessels are built at the facilities of our long-term shipbuilding partners under the management and in accordance with the quality requirements of Meyer Turku. The cooperation, which started brilliantly, has now progressed, on schedule, to a stage where we can celebrate the achievement of one of the milestones of traditional shipbuilding – said Tapani Pulli, Deputy Executive Director of Meyer Turku.

The multi-purpose patrol ships will be 98 meters long, 17.6 meters wide, with a draft of 5.1 meters. They will be equipped with 12 MW engines. The Turva-type vessels will be a continuation of the series started by the prototype OPV Turva, which is probably the world's first coastal defense ship powered by LNG. It has a displacement of approximately 4,000 tons and 30 crew members. It reaches a speed of 18 knots. The new patrol ships will most likely be similar in terms of equipment and size to their predecessor. They are planned as universal units that, in addition to the tasks typical of the coast guard (protection of sea borders, combating smuggling and control of surface vessels), will be adapted to perform rescue tasks (including SAR operations) as well as eliminate the effects of oil spills as part of the protection of the water environment and fire safety.

These new ships have enhanced border security, emergency response and environmental protection capabilities, supported by advanced surveillance systems and enhanced oil recovery capabilities. They will be equipped with state-of-the-art systems for responding to oil and chemical spills and will be characterized by high efficiency in collecting water contaminants. The builder and the ordering party give priority to low emission and energy efficiency, so that the vessels are also environmentally friendly. Patrol vessels are to be able to quickly respond to threats to the region's fauna and flora. In addition, due to the fact that the Gulf of Finland is one of the busiest maritime areas in the Baltic Sea, the services need ships capable of maintaining constant readiness to ensure the safety of people, property and nature. Thanks to effective and modern ships, the border guard is to guarantee border security and ensure effective dealing with even all dangerous situations. Importantly, due to the threat from Russia and Finland's accession to NATO in April last year, they will perform important tasks related to the protection of the maritime border, also monitoring critical infrastructure.

The Finnish Border Guard organized a tender in spring 2021. which was won by the Meyer Turku shipyard. The first plans and requirements for the new vessels appeared already in 2020, and the construction contract was concluded in June 2022. The Parliament authorized the order of two patrol vessels for the amount of EUR 448 million, however, the authorities also applied for financing from the EU Financial Support Instrument for Border Management and Visa Policy. Let us recall that the planned Turva-type patrol vessels are to replace older units currently in service. The Finnish contractor, belonging to the German capital group Meyer Werft, is the main entity responsible for the construction at all stages. In addition to Baltic Operator, the Finnish company Uusikaupunki Workboat is also involved in the project and is responsible for creating the superstructures.

The authorities plan that both patrol ships will remain in service until the 2050s.

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