Damen Shipyards has officially started the construction of the second batch of two offshore patrol vessels (OPV) for the Pakistani Navy.

The commencement was marked by a combined keel-laying and steel-cutting ceremony for the first and second vessels, respectively.

A ceremony was held at Damen Shipyards Galatí, Romania on 12 October, in the presence of Pakistani delegates and officials, including Pakistani Navy chief of naval staff admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi.

The event involved Niazi performing traditional keel authentication by welding the initials onto the plate. It was followed by performing the first steel cut for the second OPV.

Niazi said: “These ships will act as force multipliers in enhancing the navy’s capability of safeguarding maritime frontiers and will offer more flexibility for the Regional Maritime Security Patrols (RMSP) in the Indian Ocean.”

Delivery of the first OPV is expected in February 2024, while the second vessel will be delivered by August 2024.

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The new vessels will be Damen’s OPV 2600 multi-mission patrol ships.

Once delivered, the OPVs will provide enhanced search and rescue capability to the Pakistani Navy to protect the country’s international maritime trade routes.

The new patrol vessels are equipped with advanced communication systems, electronic warfare systems and anti-ship, anti-air sensors to perform extended range missions.

According to Damen, the latest order builds on the Pakistani Navy’s positive experience with initial two OPV 2300 that were ordered by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence (MoD). 

The first and second OPVs were commissioned as the Pakistani Navy’s Yarmook-class vessels in February and November 2020.