ISLAMABAD -  The two newly state-of-the-art maritime patrol vessels (MPVs) HINGOL and BASOL commissioned into service with the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) recently have made their maiden call at Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port.

The 600 ton MPVS HINGOL and BASOL have been constructed at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) in collaboration with China, while a steel cutting ceremony for four MPVs of 1500 tons will be held soon.

According to a dispatch received from Pakistan foreign mission in Sri Lank, MPVs HINGOL and BASOL paid their call at Colombo Port from January 5 to January 8 to bolster relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

As part of goodwill, Pakistan maritime ships frequently visit Sri Lanka. These calls are aimed at strengthening and augmenting the existing strong relationship between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

During the call, Mission Commander Ashfaq Ali paid courtesy call on Commanders of Sri Lanka Navy, Coast Guard and Western Naval Area.

During their stay at Colombo, MPVs HINGOL and BASOL took part in professional maritime drills with their Sri Lankan counterparts.

The 600 tons maritime patrol Vessel is a state-of-the-art, multi-mission vessel with steel hull and aluminium super structure, and is fully equipped to enforce maritime security, search and rescue missions in the maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Pakistan.

The 600 tons MPV is 68-meter-long and has a maximum breath of 8.7-meter. Propelled by four engines, the vessel has a top speed of 27 knots while the 1500 tons MPV is 95-meter-long and has a maximum breath of 11 m. Propelled by two engines, the vessel has a top speed of 26 knots.

These MPVs have the capability to operate independently or as part of a composite force in coastal and deep sea areas.

The MPVs will be utilised for different roles including maritime security operations, patrolling and policing operations against asymmetric threats, surveillance of EEZ, pollution control, disaster relief and intelligence gathering.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal who was chief guest at the steel cutting ceremony of the HINGOL and BASOL had congratulated Karachi Shipyard and M/s China Shipbuilding Trading Company for timely achievement of the milestone.

According to him, the induction of MPVs will go a long way in protecting national sovereignty and safeguarding rich natural resources of the area.

He had said that the government was committed to developing a maritime infrastructure along the coast to prepare for trade expansion. “In this regard, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor will transform Pakistan into a regional economic hub, which will prove to be a ‘game and fate changer’ for the region,” he was quoted as saying.

While sharing his views about the upcoming development in the maritime sector, he said that the upcoming Ship Lift and Transfer System will further enhance the capacity of KS&EW whereby repair of 13 ships would be possible at one time.

Pakistan launched its indigenous modernisation of naval vessels construction in collaboration with China in recent years to keep up of its naval defence in line with the country’s growing maritime interest in the region. The modernization envisages plans including construction of naval vessels, submarines and missile mounted crafts. 

Among the major maritime interest for Pakistan Navy are to protect its maritime EEZ which in terms of its size was equal to the area of Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

The other key maritime interest of Pakistan is to protect its sea-lanes ever since it joined China’s multi billion dollars mega ‘One-belt- One road’ project linking China’s south western region through highways and railways to Pakistan’s deep Gwadar Port.