Cantiere Navale Vittoria delivers the new flagship of the Armed Forces of Malta to the Government of Malta

Adria, March 23rd 2023 – The flag of the Republic of Malta waves on the Offshore Patrol Vessel P71 to celebrate the entry into service of the new flagship of the Armed Forces of Malta built by Cantiere Navale Vittoria.

Yesterday afternoon, in the AFM naval base in Floriana, Valletta, in the presence of the Minister of the Interior, Security, Reforms and Equality of the Republic of Malta, Byron Camilleri, the Minister of Economy, the European Funds and the Territory of the Republic of Malta, Silvio Schembri, the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds, Chris Bonett, the Head of the Maltese Armed Forces, Brigadier Clinton O’Neill, the Italian Ambassador in Valletta, Fabrizio Romano, and by the Board Member of Cantiere Navale Vittoria, Luigi Duò, the official delivery ceremony of the largest patrol vessel ever built by the Venetian company specialized in the design and construction of military, paramilitary, work, commercial and transport ships up to 100 meters of length.

The 75-metre-long unit, built in Italy, in the Adria headquarter, will be used in coastal surveillance operations, extended patrolling on the high seas and Search and Rescue operations.

Luigi Duò, Board Member of Cantiere Navale Vittoria, during the ceremony thanked the institutions present and the representatives of the AFM for their collaboration and trust, underlining that: “The vessel now supplied to the Maltese Armed Forces, due to its design qualities, technical and equipment, will be able to represent an international point of reference for units of the same type. Honored by the relationship of esteem and collaboration built up over the years and which began decades ago with the delivery of the two Melita SAR units, we look to the future with hope, certain that the P71 unit, our 890th unit, will be up to all the specific tasks for which it was conceived and created. We just have to wish the men and women of the Armed Forces good seas”.

The OPV P71 is the result of the order, with a total value of over 50 million euros, obtained by the Venetian company through participation in a pre-selection first and in an international public tender then headed by the Ministry of Defense of the Island and co-funded (for 75%) by the EU under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) 2014-2020, the fund set up by the Union for the implementation of the internal security strategy, law enforcement cooperation and the management of the external borders of European countries.


With a full load displacement of over 2,000 tons, a length and width of 74.8 and 13 meters respectively, and a draft of 3.8 meters, the OPV P71 can accommodate a crew of nearly 50 and an additional 20 staff. The platform is characterized by an elevated bridge with 360-degree vision capabilities, equipped with ballistic protection, with protected side passages for personnel on the main deck and around the same bridge. The ship has an aft flight deck, designed to accommodate a telescopic hangar, with equipment for day and night flight operations as well as refueling for a helicopter up to 7 tons such as the AW139 supplied to the Armed Forces of Malta. The aft area below the flight deck features a launch and recovery ramp for a 9.1-meter RHIB with additional space for materials and personnel as well as hatches on the flight deck above for loading / unloading materials thanks to a special service crane placed on the side of the vessel. A second station also for RHIB of 9.1 meters is located on the starboard side of the platform in the central area of ​​the ship with compensated A-frame crane to launch and retrieve the RHIB even with units underway. Both RHIBs reach a maximum speed of over 40 knots and provide ready aid to the maritime traffic control and search and rescue operations in which the mother unit is engaged. The propulsion of the P71 is entrusted to two diesel engines of 5,440 kW each, of the medium speed type, which move propellers with variable pitch capable of guaranteeing, at full load, a maximum speed of over 20 knots. Alternatively, the ship can be propelled at patrol speeds between 9 and over 12 knots by two electric motors keyed to the power take-off of the gearboxes (PTI) and powered by two of the three main generators of 750 kW, medium speed, the ship is equipped with: this diesel-electric solution at patrol speed allows greater efficiency, reduced consumption and above all lower harmful emissions for the most widely used speed spectrum of the unit. The vessel is equipped with two transverse thrusters, one forward and one aft, and retractable active stabilizing fins that guarantee great stability and seaworthiness. Designed and built under the surveillance of the US naval registry ABS, the P71 is equipped with a 25mm remotely controlled weapon and light machine guns of varying caliber while the integrated command, control and navigation system includes a 2D surveillance radar, a navigation radar and satellite communications.

Photos courtesy CN Vittoria