The Multipurpose Ocean Patrol Vessel ARA “Piedrabuena” Launched in France
(Source: Argentine Navy; issued Oct. 2, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The Argentine Navy's second French-built Offshore Patrol Vessel, Piedrabuena, at the Kership shipyard in Brittany shortly before her launch. (Argentine Navy photo)
The multipurpose ocean patrol vessel ARA “Piedrabuena” was launched yesterday at the Kership Shipyard in the town of Concarneau (France). It is the second in a series of four multipurpose ocean patrol boats that will be incorporated into the Argentine Navy, the first of which is the ARA “Bouchard”.

In the field of Defense, a cooperation agreement was established between the Government of the Republic of France and that of the Argentine Republic, signed on October 14, 1998 and approved by Law No. 25,251. Among other commitments, the support of the French Republic was established in the modernization of Argentine Defense assets; and support for the regional integration process on the topic of Defense and Security.

In parallel, on February 24, 2016 a Letter of Intent was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development of the Republic of France and the Ministry of Defense of the Argentine Republic, reiterating the common will to strengthen the cooperation in the field of Defense, particularly in the modernization of the Argentine Armed Forces through the acquisition of French Defense equipment. This agreement came into effect with the signing of contract No. 1/2018 for the supply of four multipurpose ocean patrol boats.

Present at the launching ceremony, on behalf of the Argentine Embassy in France, were Minister Silvina Murphy; by Empresa Naval Group, the Commercial Manager for Latin America, Mr. Michel Olivie, and the Director of the OPV ARA Program, Mr. Jean-Cloude Flandran; the president of the Kership Shipyard, Mr. Patrick De Leffe; civil, military and ecclesiastical authorities, and special guests.

The Chief of the Main Naval Inspection Commission for the Construction and Incorporation of four Multipurpose Ocean Patrol Boats, Captain Víctor Ortiz, thanked the authorities for their presence and highlighted the importance of this naval tradition.

“This class of ship will provide a reinforcement and renovation to continue with the task of surveillance, control of the sea and the defense of maritime resources of the Nation in the extensive Argentine Sea; as well as the safeguarding of life at sea by carrying out long-range rescue, search and rescue tasks,” explained Captain Ortiz.

“With the launch of this unit, the preliminary manufacturing and assembly stages, carefully carried out by this shipyard, are completed, and integration tests begin. I take this moment to highlight the tireless and dedicated work of all the men and women who make up this shipyard, as well as the members of the Naval Group company, who in a timely manner overcame the obstacles of a pandemic, their work not being affected. , complying with all, according to the commitment assumed," he stressed.

In honor of Piedrabuena

The ocean patrol boat was baptized by Mrs. Marcela Andrea Latorre on behalf of her godmother, Ambassador Susana Myrta Ruiz Cerruti.

The name by which this ship will be recognized belongs to Commander Luis Piedrabuena, born in Carmen de Patagones on August 24, 1833, an Argentine patriot sailor whose actions in Patagonia consolidated territorial sovereignty.

At just 15 years old, and as first officer on a schooner, he arrived in the Malvinas Islands. In 1850 he sailed through the Fuegian canals, meeting there the Tehuelche peoples to whom he instilled a love for sovereignty.

In 1854 he traveled to New York, where for two years he completed his nautical studies. Numerous were their navigations along the Patagonian coasts, the Malvinas Islands and Tierra del Fuego, saving numerous lives of shipwrecked people in what would be the beginnings of the search and rescue missions of the Navy.

The Argentine sailor and patriot died on August 10, 1883 in Buenos Aires with only 49 years.

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