BAE hands over final ship to Brazilian navy at end of £133m deal

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IT WAS smooth sailing as the last of three ships was handed over to the Brazilian navy by BAE Systems.

The ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base saw the ship’s company march onboard before the Brazilian ensign was raised on the ocean patrol vessel Araguari.

LAUNCH The Brazilian Navy's newest ship Araguari.  Picture: Malcolm Wells

LAUNCH The Brazilian Navy's newest ship Araguari. Picture: Malcolm Wells

The crew will now undergo training with the ship before she departs from Portsmouth for Brazil on August 5.

Mike Ord is managing director of BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships.

He said the programme of work on the three ships had gone well.

‘We’ve got a really great relationship with a customer whose got plans to expand his navy,’ he said.

‘They’re a growing nation and they’ve got the economic force behind them.

‘We’ve increased our reputation in the international market, which is important for us.’

He added BAE will continue to work with the navy for servicing the ships.

The latest state-of-the-art ship will join Amazonas and APA, which were handed over to the Brazilians in June and December last year.

The ships have a 30mm cannon and two 25mm guns, along with rigid inflatable boats and a helicopter flight deck for a medium-sized helicopter.

Each will boost the nation’s capability to protect its offshore oil and gas reserves.

Brazilian Captain Giancarlo Villas Boas has been working with BAE Systems on the project.

He said: ‘It’s a very important day to the Brazilian navy.

‘We have a large responsibility in the South Atlantic and BAE and our navy with this agreement have produced a very nice job together.

‘This kind of ship is a new area, a new kind of ship in the Brazilian navy, so we are so proud and interested in how we can exceed our operational capabilities.’

All three were originally made for the Trinidad and Tobago coastguard.

But the Caribbean nation axed the £150m deal in 2010 over a contractual dispute.

Araguari, which has a crew of 81 sailors, took 14 months to complete as she had been mothballed for two years and was the least completed.

The £133m contract between the navy and BAE was announced in 2012.

Over the course of the project, Portsmouth has hosted around 250 Brazilian crew members.