French shipbuilder OCEA launched the world’s largest aluminium offshore patrol vessel (OPV) ever built last week as part of an international competition to highlight the cost effectiveness and CO2 emissions reduction possible when using aluminium hulls.
Built as part of a contract with the Coast Guard of the Philippines and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the 84-meter (275’) OPV 70 is also the largest ever constructed at the shipyard in Les Sables d’Olonne. She will be christened Gabriela Silang upon her delivery to the Philippine government.
Per OCEA, the new vessel has a range of 8,000 nautical miles at 12 knots, an endurance of 5 weeks, and a top speed of 22 knots. The ship will be operated by a crew of 40 with room for 26 passengers and VIPs and 35 survivors.
The product of over three decades of experience, OPV 70 has an expected lifetime of 20 years and will reduce CO2 emissions by over 40 percent, or 20,400 tons, both of which are possible primarily due to the extensive use of aluminium in its construction.
The ship is the fifth vessel built under the 2017 contract, following 4 fast patrol boats commissioned last year and currently on patrol in Philippine waters. She is designed to conduct a variety of maritime safety and security missions in and around the Philippine archipelagos. Her diesel-electric engines optimize fuel consumption while reducing CO2 emissions and maintenance costs.
The OPV 70’s hull is structured to accommodate a 5-ton helicopter and 2 30-foot rigid-hulled inflatable boats. Her mission management system integrates surveillance, detection, and communication capabilities for optimal situational awareness, and she is capable of taking on castaways, offenders, wounded individuals, divers, and special forces personnel for the entirety of a 5-week mission.
The OPV 70 is the latest of several ships built by OCEA, which specializes in aluminium-hulled ships. OCEA notes the positive attributes of aluminium in shipbuilding, including aluminium’s high strength-to-weight ratio and its resistance to rust and corrosion as compared to steel.