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Italian warship docks in Karachi

Updated April 07, 2017

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KARACHI: A view of ITS Carabiniere’s spacious bridge.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
KARACHI: A view of ITS Carabiniere’s spacious bridge.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: At a press conference aboard the visiting Italian Navy FREMM (European Multi-Mission Frigate) Carabiniere on Thursday, its commander Francesco Pagnotta said, “Our arrival and docking at the Karachi Port is part of our South East Asia and Australia naval campaign aimed at increasing maritime safety and surveillance, strengthening of cooperation and naval diplomacy in the region.”

He added that it would further interaction between the Italian Navy and the Pakistan Navy personnel through shared experiences while holding sea exercises. “We are looking to strengthen on-going cooperation activities with some trans-regional allies and develop relations with potential partners,” he said.

Sharing details about the ship, Commander Pagnotta said the ITS Carabiniere, an anti-submarine warship delivered to the Italian Navy in April 2015, was the fourth FREMM of 10 to be commissioned. “ITS Carabiniere is fitted with the latest generation platform and combat systems based on state-of-the-art military and civil standards.”

He said it had been designed to assure stealth capability in order to reduce minimum IR and Radar signature. “Its innovative combat system including guns, missile systems and lightweight torpedoes makes it suitable to constabulary role, counter terrorism operations, maritime surveillance and interdiction of illegal trade, prevention and control of human trafficking, protection of sea lines of communication and humanitarian operation in case of natural disasters,” he added.

The South-East Asia and Australia naval campaign, according to the commanding officer, began from Italy on Dec 20. He said it reflected an international vision “that converges and outlines this century as the ‘blue one’”.

Blue growth is considered a key factor for sustainable development of countries where the sea is a key resource for growth, employment and scientific and technological advance, he explained.

“Italy is famous for its rich history but we are also known for technology, which we want to showcase through our campaign,” he said.

The ship’s deployment has been organised with the support from Fincantieri (its lead sponsor), Leonardo, MBDA Italia, Elettronica, DRASS and Telespazio.

Later, reporters were taken around the ship, its spacious bridge and multiple windows. It was explained that the windows helped in manoeuvring the vessel at night.

ITS Carabiniere has earlier visited the ports of Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, where it also took part in the Langkawi Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2017