Italian frigate to dock at Jeddah port on goodwill mission
RIYADH: The Italian multi-mission frigate FREMM Carabiniere will visit the Jeddah Islamic Port on Tuesday, said Italian Ambassador Luca Ferrari, here Saturday.
The visit, billed as a sign of friendship between the Kingdom and Italy, will help to strengthen bilateral ties in the naval and maritime sectors within the framework of international naval cooperation.
“The main focus of FREMM frigate’s deployment is to support operations, international naval cooperation and diplomacy and industrial relations tasks,” said Ambassador Ferrari, while commenting on the forthcoming visit of the vessel. He pointed out that “the frigate will tour several countries in the Middle East and Far East, besides Oman and Pakistan.”
The envoy said that “the frigate would visit traditional allies like Singapore and Australia.” The stopovers of this ship will also enable Italy to showcase FREMM’s design and capabilities, with the frigate being a candidate in Australia’s SEA 5000 Future Frigate program.
This Italian Navy’s FREMM Carabiniere sailed from La Spezia naval base in northern Italy on Dec. 20 for a four-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific region, including Saudi Arabia. During its 20,000-nautical mile deployment, the navy’s fourth-in-class, anti-submarine warfare (ASW)-focused FREMM frigate will conduct port visits in a number of other countries also.
Bergamini class is the Italian variant of the European multi-purpose frigate (FREMM) class, a class of frigates designed by the French DCNS and the Italian Ficantieri in a joint program to replace the existing destroyers and frigates within the French and Italian navies. The visit of this frigate is a gesture of goodwill between Rome and Riyadh. Saudi Arabia and Italy have had several high-level contacts during the current year.
On Nov. 22, the two countries pledged to work closely in the field of security and counterterrorism following talks here between Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and King Salman, as well as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, minister of interior. Alfano conveyed his country’s preparedness to train Saudi police personnel in security and counterterrorism.
Also, the Kingdom and Italy have forged closer ties in different sectors. On the commercial front, Italian companies, and Italians living in the Kingdom, have traditionally played a crucial role in the construction of many infrastructure projects. Saudi Arabia is also Italy’s main commercial partner in the Gulf, and among the countries in the Arab world. The total value of trade between the two countries exceeded $10 billion last year.