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Colombia's COTECMAR commences construction of new OPV

10th May 2023 - 15:00 GMT | by Wilder Alejandro Sanchez in Washington DC

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The new Colombian OPV will take around two and a half years to build. (Photo: COTECMAR)

The Colombian shipbuilding corporation COTECMAR has started the construction of an OPV as the first platform as part of an order for three new ships.

Construction of the OPV, which began on 31 March, will take 'around two and a half years,' and 'is the first [OPV] manufactured based on a local design by a Latin American country,' according to COTECMAR.

The OPV has a length of 93m-long and will carry a 'rapid reaction boat and a helicopter,' the shipbuilder added.

The vessel will be used for maritime security, patrol, and maritime interdiction, among other operations, the Colombian Navy told Shephard.

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The new OPV still needs to be assigned a name, the Navy added, but it will have the new 'Colombia OPV-class' designation.

The logistics support vessel will be based on COTECMAR's BAL6012 (Buque de Apoyo Logístico 6012) model.

The Colombia Navy told Shephard that construction of the BAL6012 support vessel is expected to start in 2029.

In September 2022, the corporation and the Dutch shipyard Damen signed an agreement to build a fleet of frigates to replace the service's Almirante Padilla-class ships.

A ship design is expected 'within nine months,' COTECMAR noted at the time.

However, the Colombian Navy told Shephard that 'the construction schedule [for the first frigate] has not been decided' since the design has yet to be finished.

The service declined to provide further information due to the project's sensitivity.

The Colombian Navy operates three offshore patrol vessels to monitor its exclusive economic zone: ARC 20 de Julio (PZE-46), ARC 7 de Agosto (PZE-47), and ARC Victoria (PZE-48).

The ships were manufactured by COTECMAR, based on Fassmer's 80m OPV model.

At the time of publishing, COTECMAR had yet to respond to queries from Shephard.

Wilder Alejandro Sanchez

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Wilder Alejandro Sanchez


Wilder Alejandro Sánchez is an analyst who covers defense & security, geopolitical, and trade issues …

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