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Guyana Announces Intent to Purchase French-Designed Oceanic Patrol Vessel.

| Naval News Navy 2024

The Guyana Defense Forces (GDF) and French manufacturer OCEA S.A. have signed a letter of intent (LOI) for the acquisition of an oceanic patrol vessel. Priced at $42 million, the agreement includes the purchase of a Model 190 offshore patrol vessel.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The OPV 190 is a french patrol vessel. (Picture source: OCEA)

The signing ceremony took place at the Guyana Ministry of Finance building, as reported by News Room. Local authorities were represented by Ashni Singh (Minister of Finance of Guyana), Brigadier Omar Khan (Chief of Defense Staff of the GDF), and Captain Vernon Burnett (GDF Colonel of Administration and Accommodation). The French side was represented by Nicolas de Bouillane de Lacoste (Ambassador of France to Suriname and Guyana) and Yorgo Hernandez (Director for the Americas at OCEA SA).

With the purchase of the Model 190 offshore patrol vessel, Guyana aims to ensure its sovereignty and combat illegal fishing and trafficking activities, especially against the backdrop of tensions with Venezuela over the Essequibo region. The LOI not only specifies the purchase of the vessel but also includes the provision of technical equipment and training for five years.

The OPV 190 is a patrol vessel designed to meet high performance and operational capacity requirements. This ship, 58 meters in length and displacing 500 tonnes, is operated by a crew of 24 sailors and can accommodate up to 30 additional passengers. With a 21-day endurance, the OPV 190 can undertake extended missions without frequent resupply, which is well suited to Guyana's needs. Its maximum speed of 30 knots allows it to rapidly move between different points of interest. In terms of armament, the OPV 190 is equipped for both defense and attack: it can carry a remotely operated 30 mm cannon, a water cannon for non-lethal interventions, and two 12.7 mm machine guns, thus offering significant response capabilities against various threats.

From Guyana, Brigadier Omar Khan stated, "The purchase of an oceanic patrol vessel is pertinent and necessary, and it is best for us as a sovereign nation to do so. While our collective actions have converged in today's ceremony, I highlight and recognize the commitment of the Government of Guyana and the vision of our Commander in Chief to ensure that the GDF is equipped with the necessary resources for air, land, and sea to protect our territory, and also to create an environment conducive to national development."

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez responded by saying, "The victim-playing Guyana buys an oceanic patrol vessel from a French company. Guyana, the United States, its Western partners, and its former colonial master [United Kingdom], constitute a threat to peace in our region. Venezuela will continue to monitor Guyana's actions and persist on the path of international legality. The moment of historical truth has arrived!"

Ambassador Bouillane expressed optimism about the progress in negotiations and the signing of the agreement, stating, "United, we are stronger in facing various challenges." The diplomat confirmed that with the signing of the LOI, France became the second main exporter of military equipment to Guyana. This milestone further strengthens the bilateral relations and trust between the two nations, accelerating the opening of the French Embassy in 2025.

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