Acquisition of Two Multi-role Patrol Ships for the Navy Delayed by a Year
Sofia, June 22 (BTA) - A project to acquire two multi-role modular patrol vessels for the Bulgarian Navy has been delayed by a year, Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov said during question time in the National Assembly on Friday.
Under the project, which was approved by the legislature in 2016, the basic version of the first ship was to be acquired in 2020 and the second ship in 2021. The procedure has been delayed by a year because the winning bidder refused to sign the contract and also because the project had to be updated by adding VAT to the price, Karakachanov recalled. As a result, the first ship will be acquired in 2021 and the second one in 2022.
The process of inter-agency coordination for the project ends on Friday. No one has expressed any objections, including the Finance Ministry, Karakachanov said. He hopes that the project will be put to the vote in the Council of Ministers next Wednesday before it is submitted to the National Assembly for conclusive approval.
This practically means that all three major projects for upgrading the Armed Forces will move on simultaneously, the Defence Minister noted. He warned that any delay of the Navy modernization initiatives may compromise the defence of Bulgaria's territorial waters.
The requirement that at least one of the two patrol vessels should be built in Bulgaria remains in place, he said.