Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has delivered the first two of four offshore patrol patrol vessels to the Bangladesh Coast Guard.
The converted and upgraded former Italian Navy Minerva-class corvettes were delivered during a ceremony held August 4 at the shipbuilder’s Muggiano yard in Italy.
Formerly known as Minerva and Sibilla, the two vessels were renamed by the Bangladesh Coast Guard as Syed Nazrul and Tajuddin.
Minerva and Sibilla were retired from the national fleet in May 2015, while the other two vessels, ITS Danaide and ITS Urania, left the Navy in May 2016.
Fincantieri and Bangladesh Coast Guard signed the contract to upgrade and convert the corvettes into Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), and to provide the related logistics support services in July 2015.
The ceremony was attended, among others, by MD Mozammel Haque Khan, senior secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Rear Adm. AMMM Aurangzeb Chowdhury, Commander in Chief of the Bangladesh Coast Guard, while Fincantieri was represented by Alberto Maestrini, deputy general manager and senior vice president naval vessels.
In keeping with the Bangladeshi tradition, the signing of the ships’ delivery was preceded by the reading of a passage of the Koran.
Together with Urania and Danaide, scheduled for delivery next year after the same upgrading and conversion activities, these vessels will form the backbone of the Bangladesh Coast Guard’s fleet, with an extension of the lifespan by twenty years.
The units will be used to patrol the country’s maritime boundaries and traffic in its Exclusive Economic Zone, with capabilities to contain environmental pollution and to rescue and assist civilians in the case of humanitarian emergencies.