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The keel of the Finnish Border Guard’s new patrol vessel was laid in traditional ceremony

Publication date 13.3.2024 9.11 | Published in English on 13.3.2024 at 9.15
Press release

The construction of the Finnish Border Guard’s new patrol vessels proceeds as planned. The first vessel’s keel laying was celebrated on Tuesday 12 March 2024.

A keel laying ceremony was arranged at Baltic Operator’s shipyard in Gdansk on 12 March 2024. The ceremony took place in the presence of the representatives of the Finnish Border Guard, Meyer Turku Oy, Baltic Operator and Bureau Veritas.

The keel laying ceremony is an old tradition. Before keel laying, the ordering party, in other words, the Finnish Border Guard, and the shipyard’s representative placed their lucky coins under the keel beneath the first block. Later on, the coins will be transferred to the finished vessel to bring her luck. The tradition of the placement of coins derives from the times of sailing ships and the custom of placing coins under the mast to bring the ship sailing luck.

‘The offshore patrol vessels are built in the facilities of our long-term partner shipyards under the leadership and in accordance with quality demands of Meyer Turku. The cooperation that started excellently has now proceeded, in accordance with the schedule, into the stage that we get to celebrate reaching of one of the milestones of traditional ship construction’, Tapani Pulli, Deputy Executive Director of Meyer Turku states.

The Finnish Border Guard’s operational capacity in the open sea is, for a significant part, based on continuous operation and preparedness of the multifunctional offshore patrol vessels. The offshore patrol vessels are at sea for approximately 330 days of the year.

Currently, the Finnish Border Guard has three operating offshore patrol vessels, of which the offshore patrol vessel Turva, introduced in 2014, is up-to-date. Preparations are made for giving up the two old offshore patrol vessels, when the new vessels are completed. The first new vessel will be completed by the end of 2025, in accordance with the contract, and the second by the end of 2026.

The operational capacity of the Finnish Border Guard’s vessels that currently are under construction is significantly better compared to the old vessels. The vessels’ abilities to monitor and response in border surveillance tasks and in control and protection of territorial integrity in connection to it will be improved. Advanced surveillance systems and solutions for data transfer improve maintenance of real-time surveillance information and sharing of it. The new vessels improve the ability to prevent major accidents and the ability to carry out rescue operations. All the vessels have an immediate readiness to control serious environmental accidents and the total oil recovery capacity will be approximately twice the size of the present capacity. The new vessels will produce low emissions and are energy-efficient. Capabilities funded by the Defence Forces will be acquired for the vessels.

Offshore Patrol Vessel 2025 project