The president of the Martifer Group, which owns West Sea, a subconcession of the extinct Viana do Castelo Shipyards (ENVC), said today that the shipbuilding in that city “has once again become a” world reference. “
Carlos Martins, who was speaking during the baptism ceremony of the Setúbal Ocean Patrol Ship (NPO), the second built by the West Sea for the Portuguese Navy, stressed that this contract, signed in 2015, provided the company with the “experience and knowledge necessary to be presenting commercial proposals for the construction of similar ships to other countries “.
“We want to continue to create wealth for those who work here, for the region and for the country. This shipyard has once again become a world reference in this industry,” said Carlos Martins during the ceremony presided by Defense Minister João Gomes Cravinho.
Carlos Martins added that the construction of the two NPOs “helped to give birth to the capacity to build ships in Portugal“.
“We were competent for the quality of the project and the construction, the fulfilment of all the deadlines, the contractual budget and all the requirements and specifications of the Navy. The shipbuilding represented here at this shipyard is alive, strong and capable. working to be able to be contemplated with more contracts like this, “he said.
Speaking to the defence minister, Carlos Martins said that the West Sea “is ready to accept new challenges that they wish to entrust to him”, referring to the new Military Programming Law currently under discussion in the Assembly of the Republic. In November 2018, the Council of Ministers approved the proposed Military Programming Law (MPM) for the period 2019/2030, which provides for an investment of 4.74 billion euros.
“This consortium is prepared to make commitments and to rise to such great challenges,” he said.
Carlos Martins said that since 2014, when the Martifer group took over the sub-concession of those shipyards, “more than 200 ships have already been repaired, built 16, with six others under construction.”
“More importantly, these shipyards now have about 1,200 workers,” he said.
At the end of the ceremony, questioned by journalists, the defence minister said he could “guess” that the six new Ocean Patrol Ship (NPO), provided for in the Military Programming Law, will be built at Viana do Castelo shipyards, of euros.
“Once we have this approval in the Assembly of the Republic, it will be time to talk to the shipyards, but it is clear that Viana do Castelo obviously offers exceptional conditions. Obviously, we want them to be made in Portugal and therefore, as I say, we can guess, “said João Gomes Cravinho.
The minister said that the government “will not allow this opportunity and this investment to leave Portugal“.
“First of all, there will be negotiations with the shipyards, obviously we have to take care of the interests of the national economy and the financial resources of the Navy, there is always work to be done here, so I can not compromise until we have signed contracts. I hope, that this opportunity and this investment will leave Portugal. It will certainly be an investment made in Portugal, for Portugal, “he added.
According to João Gomes Cravinho, the period of construction of the ships will be six years, “at a rate of one per year“, in an investment of 360 million euros.
The minister also said that he hoped that the Multipurpose Logistic Vessel, also foreseen in the new Military Programming Law, will also be built by the West Sea yards in Viana do Castelo, although it is considered a “more complex matter“.
“It is an experience that does not yet exist in Portugal and will depend on the specifications that have been made for the Logistic Multipurpose Ship. But my hope is that the entire Military Programming Law including, obviously, this investment has a great positive impact on the national economy, “he said.
The NPO Setúbal, now baptized, is the fourth of Viana do Castelo’s class, all built in Portugal, joining Viana do Castelo, Figueira da Foz and Sines. These ships will replace the corvettes of the Navy with more than 45 years.
The ship is commanded by commander Rui Zambujo Madeira, specialization diver, 42 years old and born in Lisbon, who joined the Navy in 1994.