Singapore Secures Patrol Vessel Deal With Oman
By Wendell Minnick
TAIPEI — ST Marine (Singapore Technologies Marine), an arm of ST Engineering, has confirmed a contract to design and build four patrol vessels (PVs) under Oman’s Al Ofouq program.
The $700 million deal, announced on April 9, also has a provision for associated logistics support for the Royal Navy of Oman.
The Ministry of Defense of the Sultanate of Oman awarded the contract to ST Marine through a competitive international tender that included Netherlands-based Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and India-based Goa Shipyard.
ST Marine will build four 74-meter patrol vessels based on its proprietary 500-ton Fearless-class patrol vessel. Singapore produced 11 Fearless-class vessels during the 1990s for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).
ST Marine denied suggestions that the Fearless-class vessels are based on the Visby design produced by Swedish ship and submarine builder Kockums.
“For the record, the design of PVs is based entirely on ST Marine’s in-house Fearless-class design,” said Adeline Wong, a vice president of communications for ST Marine. “In addition, ST Marine and Kockums do not have any design relationship.”
The project will begin immediately, with the first vessel expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2015 and final delivery in the third quarter of 2016.
“This is a significant contract to ST Marine, and we are confident that we will live up to our reputation as a total naval solutions provider — from design to construction to logistics support and hopefully through-life support for our customer’s vessels,” Ng Sing Chan, president of ST Marine, stated in a press release.
This deal is the second this month boosting ST Marine’s profile in the international maritime and naval vessel market.
On April 4, ST Marine announced a partnership with Kockums to create a joint venture company called Fortis Marine Solutions. It will support the RSN’s six Kockums-built submarines.
The partnership was formed for the sole purpose of providing comprehensive maintenance and overhaul services as well as life-cycle support for Singapore’s submarines, said Lina Poa, a spokesperson for ST Engineering. “There is no commercial side to it.”
While ST Marine has been providing up to depot-level submarine maintenance, the joint venture was formed with the main objective of improving in-country capability in the refitting and life-cycle support services for the RSN submarine fleet.
“Fortis Marine Solutions is an important widening of our activities in Singapore, and a strong sign of our long-term commitment to provide the RSN with the best support throughout the lifetime of our products,” said Ola Alfredsson, CEO of Kockums.
“Singapore’s aspirations to become a regional leader in naval technology and shipbuilding will receive a major boost from the joint venture between ST Marine and Kockums,” said Sam Bateman, a senior research fellow in the Maritime Security Program at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. The school is part of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
“It will markedly increase the ability of the Republic of Singapore Navy to conduct major refits of its own submarines,” he said. “Singapore will thus have a huge advantage over other submarine-owning Southeast Asian countries that will continue to be dependent on overseas support for submarine repair and maintenance.”