Tunisian Navy Adds to Patrol Boat Fleet

By Guy Martin

The Tunisian Navy has received another locally built patrol vessel under a partnership between the government and local private shipbuilding company Societe de Construction Industrielle et Navale (SCIN).

The vessel, El Jem (P213), was launched by defence minister Ibrahim Bartaji on 21 April at the port of Sfax, the Tunisian defence ministry said. Bartaji stated the public-private partnership with SCIN will continue with the construction of additional vessels.

El Jem is the fourth of seven locally built patrol vessels manufactured in the partnership with SCIN. The third, Kerkouane (P212) was launched on 8 May 2018 at Sfax. In March that year SCIN launched its second locally made patrol boat, the Utique (P211). The first, Istiklal (P201), was launched in August 2015.

The 80 ton vessels are 26.5 metres long and 5.8 metres wide. They are powered by two Rolls-Royce engines, each of which produces 3 200 horsepower, giving a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 600 nautical miles. Armament includes a 20 mm cannon and two machineguns. Accommodation is for a crew of 12 sailors. The vessels are fitted with a thermal imaging camera.

SCIN said the partnership has resulted in the development of the naval industry in Tunisia and reduces reliance on foreign imports while lowering acquisition costs.

Another patrol boat (P214) is nearly complete and will be launched later this year.

This article was published by defenceWeb on April 30, 2021.