ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Navy (PN) has commissioned the first of two 2,300 tons multi-role corvettes ordered from Dutch shipbuilder Damen in 2017.

Named PNS ‘Yarmook’ (F-271), the ship, which the company said is based on a Damen Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) 1900, entered serviced in a ceremony held on 13 February at Constanta Port in Romania that was also attended by the PN's Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Muhammad Fayyaz Gilani.

In a 14 February statement Damen said that ‘Yarmook’, which had been launched on 17 May 2019 at the company's facilities in Galati, Romania, is capable of performing "a variety of maritime operations" and can transport both a helicopter and an unmanned aerial vehicle. The ship, which can also carry two high-speed rigid-hulled inflatable boats - of 11.5 m and 6.5 m in length - has a capacity of two twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) for special mission operations.

The second vessel of the class, ‘Tabuk’, which was launched on 3 September 2019, is set to enter service in May.

The Dutch shipbuilder had signed a contract with Pakistan's Ministry of Defence Production on 30 June 2017 to build two multipurpose OPVs for the PN.

PN officials had previously stated that these vessels "will act as force multipliers in enhancing [the] navy's capability of safeguarding maritime frontiers and will offer more flexibility in the conduct of [the] Pakistan Navy's initiative of independent Regional Maritime Security Patrols in the Indian Ocean Region".