Cyprus EEZ patrol boat launced in Israeli shipyard
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.