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Fincantieri cuts first steel for Italian Navy's new oceanographic ship

A steel-cutting ceremony to mark the start of construction on the Italian Navy's new oceanographic research vessel was held at Fincantieri's facilities in Riva Trigoso on 19 December. (Fincantieri)

Fincantieri held a steel-cutting ceremony for the Italian Navy's new large oceanographic ship (Nave Idro-Oceanografica Maggiore: NIOM) in Riva Trigoso on 19 December, the shipbuilder confirmed the same day.

The new vessel is being built under a design and construction contract worth EUR284 million (USD311 million) awarded to Fincantieri in December 2022. Construction will take place at the shipbuilder's integrated Riva Trigoso-Muggiano shipyard.

The vessel is being procured as part of the Italian Navy's hydro-oceanographic fleet renewal programme.

Ship specifications include a full load displacement of around 5,500 tonnes, an overall length of 110 m, and a beam of 19 m. The vessel will be powered by an integrated diesel-electric propulsion system enabling a top speed of 15 kt, a standard range of 7,000 n miles at 12 kt, and an endurance of 45 days. It will be able to accommodate a core crew of 80 in addition to 60 scientists.

The vessel will be equipped with scientific laboratories and equipment to perform oceanographic surveys, research, and rapid environmental assessment operations. It will be capable of operating in the Arctic at temperatures as low as -20°C.

Features include a flight deck capable of operating and refuelling an NH90 helicopter, replenishment-at-sea (RAS) stations, alcoves for small boats and rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs), cranes, a stern launch and recovery system, and NATO Role 1 medical facilities.

The vessel is designed to operate autonomous underwater vehicles and remotely operated vehicles rated to depths of 3,000 m as well as unmanned surface vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

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