DUBLIN, Ireland, June 11 (UPI) -- Ireland has placed an order with Babcock Marine for a third offshore patrol vessel, exercising an option of a current contract with the company.
The OPV will cost of about $73.2 million -- the price agreed to under the 2012 contract. It will be delivered in 2016, joining the LE Samuel Beckett and the LE James Joyce, which is currently under construction as part of a patrol vessel replacement program.
"I recently attended the commissioning ceremony of LE Samuel Beckett, which brought home to me the necessity to continue with the vessel replacement strategy," said Minister for Defense Mr. Enda Kenny. "The new ship is impressive and offers excellent value and I am convinced that this is the right time to maintain the momentum with the replacement strategy and move forward with a placing of a contract for the third patrol vessel."
In addition to holding the defense portfolio, Kenny is also the government's Taoiseach, or head of government.
The Samuel Beckett-class OPV is about 295 feet long and about 46 feet in the beam. It has a baseline speed of 23 knots and a range of 6,000 nautical miles when cruising at 15 knots.
"Naval Service ships assert the integrity of our territorial waters as well as protecting the marine resources of the country," Kenny said. "The Naval Service's operational capacity in a highly demanding environment will be enhanced when the three new Offshore Vessels are in service."