ROME — The heads of the navies of Qatar and Italy signed deals in Rome on Wednesday for the Italian training of Qatari sailors ahead of the delivery of a series of Italian-built ships to the Gulf state.
The deals cover the enrollment of Qataris at Italian Navy training centers, the embarking of Qatari Navy personnel on Italian vessels and the dispatch of an Italian naval liaison officer to the Qatar naval headquarters in Doha.
Italian Navy chief Adm. Valter Giradelli signed the deals with Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammed Nasser Al Mohannadi, head of Qatar's Navy.
In June, Qatar signed a €3.8 billion (U.S. $4 billion) contract to buy seven naval vessels from Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard as part of Italy’s largest-ever naval export deal.
The deal covered four 3,000-ton corvettes, one landing platform dock and two 700-ton offshore patrol vessels, with a six-year construction program due to start at Fincantieri’s Italian yards in 2018.
The landing platform dock will be modeled on the one that Fincantieri delivered to Algeria in 2014, which is 143 meters long and displaces 9,000 tons.
The two naval chiefs also discussed the possibility of Qatar's Navy joining the Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Centre, a virtual network coordinated by Italy linking participating navies and providing information about merchant shipping.
The meeting also covered the setup of naval training centers in Qatar, the Italian Navy said in a statement.