The Pakistan Navy made an important addition to its fleet with the commissioning of PNS Tabuk, a multipurpose corvette, the service informed.
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The commissioning ceremony was held at the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania on 12th November. The contract for two Corvettes for the Pakistan Navy was signed between the Ministry of Defence Production Pakistan and M/s DAMEN, Romania.
The first ship of the class, PNS YARMOOK was commissioned earlier this year, the order being completed with the commissioning of PNS Tabuk.
According to Pakistani Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), “[The] PNS TABUK is a multipurpose and highly adaptive platform of medium size and tonnage. The ship is equipped with state of the art electronic warfare, anti-ship & anti-air weapons/ sensors along with modern self-protection and terminal defense systems.”
The ship is capable of performing a variety of maritime operations in a complex maritime environment and can embark a multirole helicopter and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and also 2 RHIBs (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats) simultaneously.
The Commanding Officer of the ship Capt Mohd. Umair emphasized on the new capabilities the ship would provide for the country’s navy and its sphere of influence. He further highlighted the impact of these platforms to ensure forward presence and perpetual readiness in the area of operations while being deployed on Pakistan’s initiative of Regional Maritime Security Patrols in the Indian Ocean Region.
He also acknowledged the professional competence and shipbuilding acumen of Damen Shipyards and showed confidence in prospects of future cooperation in delivering cutting edge naval technologies to the Pakistan Navy.
Many delegates including the Chief Naval Overseer (Romania), Ship’s Crew and Senior Management of DAMEN Shipyards, Gorinchem and Galati attended the ceremony. Several attended the meeting remotely via video conferencing, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Both the ships, which are enlarged versions of the Damen 1800-class offshore patrol vessel design (used by Malaysians), have a displacement of 2300 tonnes. The ships also are designed to accommodate two twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for special mission-based operations, which are further supported by RHIBs. PNS Tabuk was launched last year in September.
Managing director of Damen Shipyards Galati Flemming Sorensen, speaking at the event, said, “Damen has been involved in many projects in Pakistan since 1986 and we are very proud of this long-lasting and trusting cooperation.”
He stated that the successful outcome of the project was the result of close cooperation between all involved. “Such an achievement is only possible with good coordination, skillful workmanship, excellent teamwork and good cooperation between all parties involved.
Despite the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, the Pakistan, Romanian and Dutch project teams have managed, with perseverance, to continue their work to successful completion.”
According to Pakistan Navy officials, the purpose of these corvettes is to “act as force multipliers in enhancing the navy’s capability of safeguarding maritime frontiers and will offer more flexibility in the conduct of Pakistan Navy’s initiative of independent Regional Maritime Security Patrols in the Indian Ocean Region”.