25 Juni 2011
Guaiqueri class OPV (photo : Navantia)
Malaysia has followed up its initial interest in Navantia's 99 m offshore patrol vessel (OPV) design with an official visit to the company's Puerto Real shipyard near Cadiz.
A delegation led by the Secretary General of the Malaysian Ministry of Defence (MoD), Ismail bin Haji Ahmad, was shown the second of four Guaiqueri-class POVZEE (Patrullero Oceánico para la Vigilancia de la Zona Económica Exclusiva) ships on order for the Venezuelan Navy.
Malaysia is seeking to acquire up to six ships with combatant capabilities under its Second-Generation Patrol Vessel (SGPV) programme. Local shipbuilder Boustead Naval Shipyard, which received a letter of intent from the MoD towards the end of 2010, is looking for an international design and technology partner.
Navantia has offered a design based on the POVZEE; rival contenders include BAE Systems (with a larger version of its 90-m OPV), Damen Schelde (proposing its SIGMA design), DCNS (Gowind family) and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (K130 corvette variant).
The state-owned Spanish shipbuilder told Jane's on 20 June that it expects to hear the MoD's decision soon. Three other nations - Australia, Qatar and South Africa - have also sent representatives to Spain to view the POVZEE build programme.
The Guaiqueri-class OPV seen by the Malaysian delegation, Warao (PC 22), was launched in October 2009 and is undergoing sea trials off Cadiz prior to transfer to Venezuela. The last of the four vessels - previously known as the Caribe class - is scheduled for commissioning in 2012.