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Vard Langsten to begin outfitting on Intel ship

OSLO, Norway, March 17 (UPI) -- The hull of a new surveillance-intelligence ship for use in the Barents Sea has arrived in Norway from a shipyard in Romania.

The ship, which will replace the Marjata in the Barents Sea, arrived in Tomrefjorden on Sunday and will be fitted out by Vard Langsten, the Norwegian military said.

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"It is gratifying that the hull is finally here," Lt. Gen. Kjell Grandhagen, head of Norway's intelligence service. "The vessel will be an important step in furthering the missions of the intelligence service in the far North, and constitutes a modern capacity to help ensure the service's information needs for the next 30 years."

The ship is 413 feet long and 77 feet in the beam, and will enter service in 2016.

Norway's intelligence service has operated surveillance ships in the Barents Sea for nearly 60 years.

"This is an important project to ensure Norway's interests in the North, and monitoring of developments in an area that is strategically important for Norway," Grandhagen said. "Parliament's decision to invest in a new intelligence vessel is a signal that continuous Norwegian presence in the northern areas is a high priority."

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Vard Langsten won the contract for outfitting the new ship in 2011 after competing with several other Norwegian shipyards for the contract.

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