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Finnish Border Guard outlines future investment requirements, rising costs

13 March 2020
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The Finnish Border Guard (FBG) is expecting to make a number of new acquisitions in the coming years, although rising operational costs continue to take a toll on the force, FBG officials have said.

Briefing local media on the FBG's 2027 strategy and vision for land, air, and maritime border security and safety at sea in late February, Finland's Minister of the Interior, Maria Ohisalo, and Rear Admiral Markku Hassinen, deputy chief of the FBG, outlined investment plans of around EUR300 million (USD332 milion) for future acquisitions. However, rising costs continue to be an issue for the FBC and this will need to be offset by an increase in the budget later this year, they said.

As part of the 2027 strategy, EUR60 million has been earmarked to procure an additional aircraft to complement the FBG's two Dornier DO 228-212 aircraft. The Dorniers fly 1,000 hours a year and are used mainly to carry out environmental inspection missions to monitor for illegal discharges and non-compliant fuel usage in the Baltic Sea, which is an Emissions Control Area. The type of aircraft has yet to be decided, but the purchase of a more modern Dornier aircraft is one option under consideration.

Turning to its seaborne arm, Rear Adm Hassinen said that the Improved Tursas-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Merikarhu had returned last November from the EU Frontex agency's Mediterranean mission, where it had been based in southwest Greece patrolling the north African corridor there while also providing training to other EU countries' seafarers. The ageing vessel, built in 1994, is now up for sale and is being decommissioned.

In addition, Rear Adm Hassinen stated that two of the FBG's patrol vessels, Tursas and Uisko , built in 1986 and 1987 respectively, will be leaving service within the next five years. These are planned to be replaced by a further two Turva-class vessels for an estimated cost of around EUR240 million.

FBG OPV Merikarhu has been decommissioned after returning from its final operation in the Mediterranean in November 2019, where is was deployed with the EU's Frontex mission. (John Pagni)FBG OPV Merikarhu has been decommissioned after returning from its final operation in the Mediterranean in November 2019, where is was deployed with the EU's Frontex mission. (John Pagni)

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