Bulgaria Earmarks EUR 419 M to Acquire Two Naval Patrol Ships
A project to acquire two multi-purpose patrol ships with modular design for the Bulgarian Naval Force will cost BGN 820 M (EUR 419 M), the country’s Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev has said.
The procurement cost, which comprises armaments, equipment and communication systems for the ships, could be one-third lower if the vessels were built in Bulgaria, Nenchev said during a visit to the Black Sea city of Varna on Thursday, according to a statement of the Defence Ministry.
The project is part of a EUR 1.24 B defence procurement package for the Bulgarian Air Force and Navy approved by the government on Wednesday.
"Within three-and-a half to six years the Navy will have two completed vessels," Nenchev said.
The project will be submitted to Parliament in the next few days and the lawmakers are expected to approve it by the end of May, Nenchev added.
Preliminary talks have already been held with EU and NATO member states about potential acquisition of patrol ships, according to the statement.
Bulgaria has a maritime border of about 400 km in the Black Sea which is also part of the European Union’s external border. Concerns have increased about potential shifting of migrants routes through Bulgaria following the closure of the Western Balkan land route, leading from Greece, Macedonia and Serbia to Western Europe.
Currently, there is no information about increased migration pressure at Bulgaria’s sea border, Nenchev said.
Yet, a joint training exercise of Bulgarian Navy and Border Police forces involving Navy frigate Drazki and two patrol boats will be held in the region of Burgas in early April and a similar drill should be held in Varna Region, he added.
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