Pakistan launches fourth 600t maritime patrol vessel to support Gwadar sea port

The Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) launched its fourth 600 ton Hingol-class maritime patrol vessel on 5 December. The future PMSS Zhob bears the pennant number 1073.

The vessel was built by the Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) in Karachi, with construction commencing in May 2016. It did so with technical collaboration of China’s state-owned China Shipbuilding & Trading Company (CSTC).

The vessel is fully equipped to enforce maritime security and search and rescue missions in the maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Pakistan.

As part of an order of two 1,500-ton and four 600-ton MPVs, the ships will be deployed for undertaking “maritime security [and] search and rescue mission in [Pakistan’s] … exclusive economic zone.” KSEW was tasked with manufacturing one of each MPV.

The first ships of the type, PMSS Hingol (1070) and PMSS Basol (1071), were commissioned into the PMSA in December 2016. The PMSA deployed the MPVs to support the Gwadar deep-sea port, the centerpiece of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi congratulated Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works, CSTC (China) and PMSA on achieving this important milestone and said that responsibilities of Pakistan Navy and especially PMSA have increased manifolds after start of China Pakistan Economic Corridor with Gwadar Port in Balochistan province as its gateway and subsequent extension in EEZ.

While highlighting the significance of CPEC, the admiral said that CPEC will transform Pakistan into a regional economic hub. “If we capitalize on just 10 percent of China’s external trade, it will be about five times the current volume of trade that we are carrying through our port.”

He further said that Maritime sector alone has the potential to double or even triple our GDP. He urged different strata of society to render their support in the development of the ship building and maritime sector.

The KSEW Managing Director Syed Hasan Nasir Shah said that the MPV is one of the six vessels to be constructed as part of a contract between the Ministry of Defense Production and CSTC.

According to reports, the Pakistan Navy is also procuring 1,500 to 2,000-ton offshore patrol vessels (OPV) and corvettes from Damen Shipyards in Netherlands and US-based Swiftships, respectively. Further, the Navy is poised to procure new-built frigates, corvettes and submarines for conventional operations.

The navy’s submarine program is envisaged to restore and expand the its submarine fleet with eight new ships. KSEW will manufacture and deliver four of the Hangor (II)-class submarines by 2028, report Quwa.

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