The Malta Independent 10 December 2022, Saturday
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Largest new patrol vessel for the Armed Forces arrives in Malta

Tuesday, 8 November 2022, 15:07 Last update: about 1 month ago

The Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) is set to welcome its new largest offshore patrol vessel, the P71.

It is currently not in use and still owned by Italy; however, the AFM yesterday invited media on board to give them a tour of the new vessel which the AFM will be using in the coming weeks.

The P71 is currently located around 1.8 kilometres from Marsamxett harbour and a date for the handover ceremony is still to be established.

The vessel has five decks and it is 75-metres long. It was built in Italy by Cantiere Navali Vittoria and it is the largest patrol vessel they ever built.

The media tour was given by Major Joseph Gatt who is the commanding officer of the vessel. Aboard the vessel, there was also Home Affairs Minister, Byron Camilleri who was visiting the new vessel.

The role of the patrol vessel will be to enforce maritime law, for fisheries and customs control and for search and rescue.

The vessel can hold around 40 crew members, and the crew is split up between two departments, the Engineering department, and the Navigation and Deck department.

It is equipped with a helicopter pad that can be used for helicopters if they need to refuel whilst flying over the sea.

The vessel is also equipped with two ribs, one on the starboard side and one on the stern. The ribs are 91 metres long and they can be used to conduct boarding operations, where the crew can go out at sea and check the other vessels.

Regarding weaponry, the vessel has an armoury with ammunition, rifles and pistols. At the front of the vessel, there is the main gun which uses 25mm calibre and on the sides of the vessel, there are smaller guns.

It also has a chart room, operations room and bridge, where during routine operations seven people will be working.

The chart room has an electronic map and a physical map, which can be used to plan out voyages.

The operations room is capable of communicating with any nearby vessels or planes through radio. It also has access to cameras which can be used to survey the sea. The cameras are also infrared cameras which can see clearly even during the night.

The bridge is where the officer of the watch will steer the vessel and it is also where the helmsman and the engineer of the watch will be.

Aboard the vessel, there is also a nurse and a paramedic who are located in the administration and consultation. This is where anyone can receive medical treatment. This place can also be used to quarantine patients so as not to spread any diseases

Regarding recreational activities, when a crew member is not working, they can make use of the gym, satellite television and communal rooms to chat and eat.

The vessel is capable of taking a crew out to sea for 15 days, but if need be, it can do more. It is not fuel which prevents longer trips but it is the limited space to stock food.



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