Argentine Minister of Finance Nicolás Dujovne has signed a EUR319million ($363.2 million) financing agreement with Credit Agricole, Natixis, and Banco Santander SA for the Recuperación de la Capacidad de Patrullado Naval Marítimo project. The deal was signed in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the G20 summit
Under the project, Argentina aims to acquire four offshore patrol vessels to be used to improve Argentina’s ability to monitor and enforce laws in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Securing financing is the next step in the Argentina’s effort to acquire the vessels. Argentina’s requirement for new OPVs actually dates back to the late 1990s; however the program suffered from years of delays caused by fiscal problems. While Argentina continues to suffer from slow economic growth and budget deficits, Presient Mauricio Macri enabled the country to regain access to financing by coming to an agreement with lenders over old debt. That enabled Buenos Aires to finally make progress on the Recuperación de la Capacidad de Patrullado Naval Marítimo project.
Argentina signed a contract with French shipyard Naval Group for French OPV L’Adroit along with three new-build OPVs in July 2018. The L’Adroit is currently in service with the French Navy. However, it is owned by Naval Group and is only leased to the French Navy, meaning, the company is free to sell it to another country. The three new-build vessels will be based on the Gowind-class corvette, which features a modular design that can be adapted for various sizes and capabilities. The version to be designed for Argentina is expected to have a length of 87 meters and a displacement of 1,650 tons.
With financing settled, the vessels are expected to be delivered between 2021 and 2022.