Navy: Morocco to Commission First Ship from Spain in Over Three Decades

Navy: Morocco to Commission First Ship from Spain in Over Three Decades. Photo: ROMÁN RÍOS / EFE

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Agadir – After over a year of negotiation, it emerged on Friday that Morocco has officialized the purchase of a warship from Navantia, a Spanish state-owned shipbuilding company.

María Jesús Montero, the Spanish Minister of Finance, announced the deal at the San Fernando shipyards.

It has been over three decades since Morocco has purchased anything from the Spanish shipbuilding company.

While there have been no details about the commissioned warship,industry sources told Spanish outlet El Pais that it will be an “Avante-class patrol vessel (OPV) of about 1,500 tons, about 80 meters in length, with the range of 4,000 nautical miles and 80 crew members.” The warship reportedly cost around $183 million (MAD 1.6 billion).

The Avante-class patrol vessel specializes in coastal surveillance and rescue operations. It can be used to prevent the departure of boats with irregular migrants or for their interception on the high seas, a mutual interest for both Morocco and Spain

Morocco bought its last ship from Navantia (then Empresa Nacional Bazan) in 1982. Lieutenant Colonel Errahmani, a corvette, was the Royal Moroccan Navy’s flagship for many years. Since then the Moroccan Navy has been purchasing ships from France and the Netherlands. 

Morocco has been working to strengthen its military, with renewal of several defence contracts with the US, and a growing military budget.