WITBANK, South Africa — The Tunisian Navy has taken delivery of one of four full cabin inboard boats from US-based SAFE Boats International as it deals with increasing maritime security threats, including terrorism and the wave of illegal immigrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search of work in Europe.

In a statement posted on its website, company CEO David Morris said one boat has already been delivered with the second due to arrive shortly. The 20.3-meter-long vessels will enable the are expected to enable bolster the Tunisian Navy 's capabilities by enabling it to conduct extended off-shore security operations along the Mediterranean coast.

"SAFE Boats International has recently completed an order for two (2) SAFE 65 Foot Full Cabin Inboard Boats for the Tunisian Navy. The first boat has recently arrived in Tunisia and the second boat is in the process of being delivered. These new vessels will provide the Tunisian Navy with enhanced capability to conduct search and rescue operations (SAR) and extended offshore patrols," said the statement.

"These extremely versatile boats feature dual 1600hp diesel engines, shock mitigating seating, climate control, navigation package, and are capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.We are extremely honored to be a continuing part of the Tunisian Navy and providing products that allow their personnel to accomplish the challenging missions they face."

Each boat is powered by two MTU 10V2000 diesel engines that drive a Hamilton HM521 water-jet with additional thrust coming from 340 kilowatt impellers for to drive a maximum operating range of up to 400 nautical miles cruising at a maximum speed of 40 knots.

According to the US nited States Coast Guard, (USCG) which funded the acquisition through the Foreign Military Sales program, (FMS), Tunisia is due to receive a further three 20.3 meter-long boats from SAFE Boats, International, with the first two deliveries expected in July and November. this year.

A Coast Guard USCG official quoted by online sources said delivery will be completed by the end of 2016.

The Tunisian Navy has also reportedly requested a fifth 65 ft boat and expressed considerable interest in acquiring a larger, 25.6-meter-long vessel from SAFE Boats. in due course of this year.

These deliveries are joining delivery of a further six new vessels will increase the number of join a fleet of 20twenty SAFE Boats already in service with the Tunisian Navy. from 20 to 26.

The Tunisian Navy continues to receive be a beneficiary of US military equipment donations as part of an international effort to enhance aimed at enhancing regional security against the evolving terrorism security threat across the Maghreb and Sahel ian region in the aftermath of the February 2011 revolution that toppled the regime of long-time leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

The US is boosting has committed itself to tripling military aid to Tunisia in the course of this year with programs planned to train for the training of its special forces commandos following a deadly attack in March by militants that which killed more than 20 people at a museum in the capital, Tunis.

Email: onkala@defensenews.com

More In Naval