Hellenic Coast Guard eyes major maritime procurement
Greek authorities have reasons to invest in security at sea
The past month has been busy for the Hellenic Coast Guard.
The service was responsible for rescuing 170 migrants near to the islands of Samos and Lesvos in July. This was followed by the rescue of 128 migrants in separate incidents in early August off the coasts of Chios and the the Oinousses complex islands.
In the same period, HCG sailors operating near Rhodes were forced to fire warning shots at a cargo freighter suspected of carrying narcotics.
Search and rescue operations have become common in the Aegean in recent years, with over 11,000 migrants landing in the Greek islands by sea since January. Alongside counter-smuggling efforts and the need to cast a persistently wary eye towards Turkey, Greek authorities can be forgiven for feeling anxious about the country’s maritime security situation.
As the front line European Maritime Security Force, the HCG has an immediate requirement for new ships and equipment. Three major procurement programmes are now underway, which could see Greece spending around $495m in total.
High speed craft
The first of these initiatives includes two sub-programmes that are financed by the EU European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to a value of $33.3m ($2.6m and $30.7m, respectively). They includes the procurement of 10 Rigid Inflatable Boats with a length of 11-12 metres and 10 high speed patrol boats with a total length of 16-18 metres.
The HCG is currently running a technical dialogue procedure for the first sub-programme before specifications are defined for the 10 high speed craft and international competition is briefed. The second sub-programme is already advancing towards the competitive phase, having completed technical dialogue in March.
The second major programme centres on the procurement of two + two (optional) high speed medium size patrol boats – each at 30 metres in length.
This programme initially included the procurement of two vessels at a total value of $35.4m but the HCG recently announced that it is seeking further funding from the EU Internal Security Fund (ISF) in order to buy the additional two vessels, doubling the total cost of the programme.
Technical dialogue has also been completed on this programme and construction will be opened to international tender.
The HCG is planning to request more funds from the ISF in order to fulfil a future procurement of five boats. The two new programmes include the procurement of three 80 metre offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and two 70 metre general support vessels.
Total cost of the three OPVs is estimated to be $248m, while the construction of the general support vessels will cost around $70.9m. If approved, both programmes will be financed by the 2014-2020 ISF budgets.
The third major programme is the development and deployment of the National Integrated Maritime Surveillance System (NIMSS) – a $70m lynchpin plan to provide greater oversight across the entire sea border between Greece and Turkey.
Technical dialogue is expected to be completed in September, along with the submission of proposals and comments from those companies that have shown interest in fulfilling this programme.
Main image: Hellenic Coast Guard's offshore patrol vessel (OPV) type Sa'ar 4