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Construction starts on Finnish Border Guard's Modified Turva-class OPV

The new vessels will be an improved variant of the FBG's OPV Turva , which was commissioned into service in 2014. (John Pagni)

Polish shipbuilder Baltic Operator held a steel-cutting ceremony for the first of two Modified Turva-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) on order for the Finnish Border Guard (FBG) at Gdansk Shipyard on 12 December.

Finnish shipyard Meyer Turku was awarded a contract for the two newbuilds in June 2022. Baltic Operator has been subcontracted to build the hulls, with outfitting taking place at Uki Workboat shipyard in Uusikaupunki, Finland.

The new vessels will be an improved variant of the FBG's OPV Turva, which was commissioned into FBG service in 2014 as the world's first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered coastguard ship.

They will be equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system comprising four Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines supplying one Controllable Pitch Propeller (CPP) and two azimuth thrusters, and a 4 MWh battery system.

The two new ships will be slightly longer than Turva (98 m compared with 95.5 m) and costlier. The Finnish government budgeted EUR448 million (USD488 million) for the two follow-on vessels, with funding also from the EU Border Management and Visa Instrument, whereas Turva cost EUR97 million.

Features include a flight deck forward capable of operating and refuelling H215 and NH90 helicopters and a hangar for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) under the bridge. They will be capable of responding to oil and chemical spills, with the capacity for 1,180 m3 recovered oil, and can accommodate 600 rescuees internally.

Deliveries are scheduled for 2025 and 2026 and the vessels have a projected work life into the 2050s, averaging 330 days at sea annually.

They will replace three older, smaller vessels of the Tursas/Improved Tursas-classes – Merikarhu

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