Third New Patrol Boat Built by Latvian Shipyard Gets Launched
Baltic News Service
RĪGA, Apr 11, BNS - The third of the five coast guard patrol boats that Latvia’s Rīgas Kuģu Būvētava (RKB) shipyard has to build for the Latvian Navy was launched in a ceremony in the Latvian capital Rīga on Wednesday.
The launching and name-giving ceremony was attended by several hundred people, including high-ranking Latvian officials, representatives of foreign embassies and the RKB workers. Speeches were delivered by Latvian President Andris Bērziņš, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks and other officials.
The Latvian president said he was pleased that “something new has been created in Latvia,” referring to the fact that the military vessel has been entirely made in Latvia.
The defense minister expressed hope that the Latvian army would continue to develop based on the products of the local industry.
The ship was christened the Viesīte. All five patrol boats that RKB is to deliver to the Naval Forces will be named after historical locations of important freedom battles in Latvia during World War I. The Viesīte is the third of the five ships but the first of them that has been fully made in Latvia.
Based on the contract signed between the Defense Ministry and RKB on December 21, 2007, RKB is to deliver all five patrol boats by 2014. Two ships –the Skrunda and the Cēsis -- have already been delivered. The patrol boats will be used not only for military but also for civilian purposes – search and rescue at sea, cleaning of oil spills etc.