The Italian shipyard Fabio Buzzi Design is one of the companies involved with the German shipyard Lürssen in a commission for a hundred boats for Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry. The contract as a whole is worth even more than those for the largest cruise ships. Two 60m long boats, twenty 40m boats (which will be built in Germany), eighty 15m boats (this is the commission entrusted to Fabio Buzzi’s shipyard) and twenty landing craft (which will be built in Singapore), for a total value of €1.4 billion. The value is such that the Lürssen shipyards had to ask for and obtain the approval of the Bundesbank and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to close the deal. The government had guaranteed the operation a year ago, but since then no other official news was released about the actual signing of the contract. At least until 26th January, when the German Lürssen Group announced the start of work on the construction of the patrol boats. Work began on the largest ships at the Peene Werft shipyards in Wolgast, in Northeastern German. The Peene Werft shipyards, which previously belonged to P+S, were acquired by the Lürssen Group in May of 2013.
The start of the work was announced in the middle of a political storm in Germany about arms sales to controversial countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait. For a few weeks, in fact, it seemed that the government had frozen the sale of military materiel. Subsequently, the German Federal Security Council gave the green light to some commissions for simulation systems, instruments for the visualization of military objectives and border security technology. The patrol boats will be used by the Saudi Coast Guard to patrol the Kingdom’s maritime borders. But Saudi Arabia will not receive heavy weapons. However, the opposition party Die Linke accused Angela Merkel of placing more value on exports than on human rights, which were being violated in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. For their part, Lürssen’s spokesperson said: “We are maintaining our plan for the work and we are happy because thanks to the commission for these patrol boats for the Saudi Coast Guard we are bringing in important work to our Northern German shipyards.”