The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to loan €220m for the construction of three Italian Navy vessels.

The financing agreement was signed with the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The vessels will be used by the Italian Navy’s Hydrographic Institute (IIM) in Genoa for seabed mapping, nautical charts, navigation security and climate change research.

Out of the three vessels, one is bigger in size and will be specifically used to carry out hydrographic and oceanographic research in the world’s oceans, Arctic regions, and the Mediterranean Sea.

The remaining two are small sized vessels that will be deployed in the Mediterranean Sea.

All ships are expected to be constructed between 2021 and 2027.

They will replace the three existing survey vessels Magnaghi, Aretusa and Galatea, which are in service with the Italian Navy.

The loan term is valid for 25 years, which is in accordance with the vessels’ economic life.

EIB vice-president Dario Scannapieco said: “Protecting the environment is one of the pillars of the EIB’s financing activity. As the climate bank we are delighted to be able to support the Ministry of Defence in this civil sector project.

“Water covers 70% of the planet and the study of oceans and seas provides critical information in order to be able to adopt the appropriate decisions to curb the negative effects of climate change.”