Friday, 7 April 2017

Other warships seen during our latest cruise

During our recent cruise I had the opportunity to see several warships.

In Casablanca – which is one of the Moroccan Navy's main bases – two Sigma-class corvettes and a FREMM multipurpose frigate were moored astern of MV Ventura.

The Dutch-designed (and built) Sigma-class corvettes were closest to Ventura, and I was able to see one of them (613) in some detail. There is some confusion in the various reference works as to which ship 613 is. It is variously named as being the Tarik Ben Ziyad and the Sultan Moulay Ismail, but it was unclear what her actual name is. She is armed with a 76mm OTO Melera gun forward, ...

... a pair of twin MBDA Exocet MM40 Block II surface-to-surface missile launchers amidships, ...

... and a 20mm anti-aircraft gun on each side of the rear superstructure.

The panels underneath the 20mm guns are understood to conceal triple B515 launchers for EuroTorp 3A 244S Mode II/MU 90 anti-submarine torpedoes.

In Malaga I saw something rather unusual, the Finnish Border Guard Vessel Merikarhu.

She is currently serving with Frontex (The European Border and Coast Guard Agency tasked with securing the coasts of the Schengen Area) and is one of the ships patrolling the Mediterranean.

She is unarmed, although her crew can carry small arms if necessary.

The final warship I saw during the cruise was in Funchal, Madeira. It was the NRP Tejo (P590). ...

...a former Danish Flyvefisken-class patrol vessel. It was sold to the Portuguese Navy in 2014, along with four sister-ships. (One of the latter is being used as spare parts for the four vessels that are in service.)

The design is also known as the Standard Flex 300 or SF300-class, and was designed on a standard hull on which containerised weapons or systems could be placed. This allowed them to be rapidly changed from one role (e.g. surveillance/pollution control, combat patrol, mine countermeasures/minehunter (MCM), minelayer) to another in about 48 hours.

Tejo appears to be unarmed at present, and her role seems to be that of a local patrol vessel.

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