Cyprus EEZ pa­trol boat launced in Is­raeli ship­yard

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Cyprus first brand-new naval pa­trol boat was launched in Haifa on Tues­day, nearly four years af­ter the or­der with Is­rael Ship­yards Ltd. was first placed.

De­fence Min­is­ter Christo­foros Fokaides said that this was the first of three Offshore Pa­trol Ves­sels (OPVs) to be de­liv­ered to the Cyprus Navy that will be used in the offshore ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone where nat­u­ral gas ex­plo­rations are tak­ing place by US Noble, ExxonMo­bil, French To­tal, Italy’s Eni and Qatar­gas.

The deal was first ap­proved by the Cab­i­net way back in De­cem­ber 2013, with an or­der for two OPVs from Is­rael Ship­yards at a com­bined cost of EUR 100 mln.

Ac­cord­ing to the ship­yards’ web­site, the weapon-car­ry­ing, ‘com­bat proven’ OPV per­forms a wide range of coastal de­fence, se­cu­rity and law-en­force­ment mis­sions, in­clud­ing open sea pa­trol and sur­veil­lance, in­ter­cep­tion of ter­ror­ist, smug­gling or il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­tec­tion of offshore fa­cil­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to govern­ment of­fi­cials, within the year two more de­liv­er­ies are ex­pected to be com­pleted for an­other two OPVs and two speed­boats.

In Is­rael, Fokaides had his fourth meet­ing with Is­raeli coun­ter­part Avig­dor Lieber­man this year for mat­ters of en­hanced co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Cyprus and Is­rael.

Dur­ing the meet­ing in Tel Aviv many is­sues were dis­cussed re­gard­ing the en­hanced co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries, in­clud­ing joint drills, ar­ma­ment pro­grammes, ex­change of in­for­ma­tion and cy­ber-de­fence. The re­gional se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment and the fight against ter­ror­ism was also re­viewed while ways to fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion on a bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral level were dis­cussed.

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