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P901 Castor patrol vessels

The P901 Castor and its sister ship the P902 Pollux have been the centipedes of the fleet since they were commissioned by the Navy. They mainly function as patrol vessels for the coast guard in the Belgian exclusive economic zone. Due to their rapid deployment, large spaces on board and modular possibilities, both patrol vessels are also used for numerous other assignments.

The auxiliary vessels or Ready Duty Ships (RDS) of the navy were gradually becoming obsolete. The A950 Valcke was already in service in 1960, the A996 Albatros in 1967 and the A963 Stern in 1980. Therefore in July 2012 the government gave its permission to build two new patrol vessels.

On January 30, 2013, the government awarded the contract for construction to the French company Socarenam. The first ship, the P901 Castor, was launched on 14 April 2014 in Boulogne-sur-Mer. On 10 July 2014 it was assigned to the naval base of Zeebrugge and baptized by Queen Mathilde. The mayor of Dendermonde, the Defense Minister, the Chief of Defense and the commander of the Belgian Navy were also present.

The patrol vessels are available day and night to carry out all tasks to ensure internal security and safety at sea (action is at sea). The Naval component thus makes an important contribution to the modernization of monitoring and intervention capacity in the Belgian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and on the North Sea. In collaboration with other coastal guardian departments, the Castor carries out fishery, police tasks, customs inspections, pollution control and rescue or assistance operations at sea.

The Castor and Pollux are deployed for the fisherman's guards, for example, to shade ships, control illegal migration, monitor wind farms, as a platform for fast roping by the special forces , for divers or to disembark pilots during their survival training at sea. All these assignments are less known, but equally important for the deployment of the Navy and Defense. About seventy percent of the earth is covered with water. For those who often work above the sea, it is therefore no superfluous luxury to be prepared for an emergency landing. Because anyone who comes into difficulties in unfamiliar territory has little margin for error.

In the week of 8 to 12 October 2018, the Castor was used for a survival exercise. In doing so, he dropped about fifteen pilots, commandos and gunners of helicopters in the high seas off the coast of Ostend. Both the defense personnel and the special forces regularly attend survival courses at the Combat Survival Center (CSC), including the survival course at sea. Even in good weather it remains a challenge to float for several hours in a one-man liferaft (for the F-16 pilots) or the classic life raft for ships' crews.

Throughout the year, the CSC organizes several parts of the survival course several times, in various environments. One of those courses is survival on water. In addition, the participants spend a few hours alone on the North Sea. Of course the crew of the P901 Castor was ready and she kept an eye on things. The ship remained on the spot until a Sea King rescue helicopter had safely taken all pilots out of the water. The day ended with a disembarkation exercise of the Battalion 12 Line Prince Leopold - 13 Line. After the Castor disembarked several embarked pupil-waiting officers and NCOs-detectors in his home port, he again set course for his next assignment.

Categorypatrol vessel
Assignmenthome safety and safety at sea (action is at sea).
FabricatorSociéte Calaisienne de Réparation Navale et Mécanique (Socarenam)
Year of construction2014
Length 53.50 m
Width 9.20 m
Height 19.80 m (from the waterline to the highest antenna)
Draft 3.19 m
Empty 399.12 tons
With loaded container 510.40 ton
Water displacement 569 tons
Brand MTU
Type 16V4000M73L
Power 2,880 kW
Quantity 2
Range 4,500 miles at 12 knots
Cruising speed 12 knots
Maximum speed 22 knots

P901 Castor patrol vessels P901 Castor patrol vessels

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Page last modified: 08-11-2018 13:48:12 ZULU