The Tunisian Ministry of Defence (MoD) last week attended the launch ceremony of the patrol Boat “El Jem”, the 4th boat out of 7 Istiklal class Patrol Boats manufactured locally.
The Istiklal class was built in collaboration between the MoD and the Tunisian shipbuilding company SCIN.
P213 El jem is the 4th patrol boat after the prototype Istiklal P201 was launched in 2015. Since 2018, two other boats of the Istiklal class P211 “Utique” and P212 “Kerkouane” have been launched.
The 5th boat P214 “Doga” will be launched later this year and construction will be completed.
The Istiklal class patrol boats have a length of 27.5 meters, beam of 5.8 meters, and draft of 1.26 meters.
Its maximum speed is 26 knots, with a range of 600 miles. The Istiklal class boats are manned by 18 personnel including three officers.
The type is armed with one 20 mm gun and two 12.7 mm machine guns.
The Istiklal class boats would improve the Tunisia’s maritime capabilities.
They will operate alongside twenty-six US-made patrol boats in the Tunisian Navy delivered between 2012-2019.
Additionally, Tunisia also operates three Multi Service Offshore Patrol Vessel 1400 (MSOPV 1400) series which arrived the country from its shipyard at Galati in Romania in 2018.
The second Tunisian Navy Multi Service Offshore Patrol Vessel 1400 (MSOPV 1400) Syphax (P 611) series was commissioned alongside a third istiklal-class patrol boat at the port of La Goulette on 25 June.
In August 2018, the third ship of the new Multi Service Offshore Patrol Vessel 1400 (MSOPV 1400) OPV “Hannon” (P 612) was commissioned.