In Genova, on 22 September, the P.04 Osum, built to a Damen Stan Patrol 6009 design, officially received the naval flag. The event marked its joining the fleet of Italy’s Guardia di Finanza, a law enforcement agency under the authority of the Minister of Economy and Finance, as its new flagship.
The vessel arrived in the port of Genova on the 16th of September at the end of the first of a series of training and operational missions carried out along Italy’s maritime border and will remain there for the duration of the 62nd Genova International Boat Show.
The ceremony of the hoisting of the naval flag was attended by the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance Daniele Franco and the Commander General of the Guardia di Finanza, Gen. C.A. Giuseppe Zafarana.
First of the Bandiera class
The 60-metre vessel was built at the Cantiere Navale Vittoria Shipyard (CNV), based in Adria on Italy’s northern Adriatic coast, under Damen’s Technical Cooperation programme. Not only the largest vessel to be operated by the Guardia di Finanza, P.04 Osum is also their first sustainable offshore patrol vessel (OPV) with a hybrid, diesel-electric propulsion system.
The P.04 Osum has been designated the first of the new “Bandiera” class, one that is characterised by the application of innovative technological equipment and green propulsion systems. These are priorities on which the Guardia di Finanza intends to focus in the years ahead. The OPV has the most modern navigation, communication and identification systems, allowing its crew of thirty to effectively carry out maritime policing and the monitoring of national and European maritime borders in all weather and sea conditions.
Hybrid diesel-electric and Axe Bow
The introduction of hybrid diesel-electric propulsion, in addition to safeguarding the environment, ensures continuous operational autonomy for up to fifteen days and 2000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 18 knots.
A maximum speed of 26 knots in a wide range of conditions is possible due to the vessel’s trademark Damen Axe Bow that allows the hull to cut through the waves with minimal resistance. At lower speeds, the diesel-electric system enables low-emission operations at speeds of up to nine knots. This is achieved by twin 270-kW reversible (power take-in, PTI) electric motors linked to the drive shafts.
Other notable capabilities include the deployment and retrieval of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the aft deck and two, nine-metre RHIBs that can also be rapidly deployed for interception, rescue and the boarding of suspect vessels.
European Frontex Agency
In addition to its domestic duties, the P.04 Osum, co-financed with European Community resources under the Internal Security Fund 2014-2020, will also enhance the operational capacity of the Guardia di Finanza in EU waters and the so-called enlarged Mediterranean. In particular, the prevention of illegal activities that threaten the security of maritime borders in the context of the international cooperation activities will be conducted under the flag of the European Frontex Agency, and the vessel is equipped with facilities for hosting European officials during joint international operations promoted by the agency.
Damen and CNV have previous experience of working together for the Guardia di Finanza, with two Stan Patrol 5509 vessels built and delivered in 2014.