Following Government approval to go to tender, notice of a competition for the purchase of replacement vessels for the Naval Service was sent to the Official Journal of the European Union on 24 August 2007. The competition for the purchase of two Offshore Patrol Vessels, with an option on a third and one Extended Patrol Vessel, with an option on a second, uses a Restricted Procurement Procedure in accordance with EU Procurement Directives. The process comprises two stages - Stage 1, a Request for Proposals and Stage 2, an Invitation to Tender.
The closing date for Stage 1- Request for Proposals was 26 October 2007. Stage 1 Proposals are being evaluated at present in my Department and following the evaluation a detailed specification will issue to those invited to participate in Stage 2 - Invitation to Tender. The “Invitation to Tender” is expected to issue in May 2008, with tenders due for return in July/August of that year. Following detailed tender evaluation it is expected that a contract will be awarded in late 2008/early 2009.
The decision to proceed to purchase the vessels will be subject to further Government approval and agreement on funding, the full requirement for which will not be known until the tender competition has concluded. Once details of costs are known, funding arrangements will be a matter for further consideration in consultation with the Minister for Finance in the context of the Estimates process. It is expected that the cost of the three new ships will be of the order of some €180m excluding VAT. There has been an increase of €1million (10%) in Subhead J - Naval Service Equipment for 2008 to facilitate on-going project development. It is expected that the vessels will be delivered on a phased basis between 2010 and 2012.