Spain : Navantia denies plans to build submarines for Morocco

Has France managed to keep Spain away from building submarines for Morocco ? Spanish shipbuilding firm Navantia denied in a recent press release reports claiming that it was building submarines for the Kingdom.

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On January 21, French daily La Tribune reported that Morocco «is planning to purchase submarines and have already contacted shipbuilding companies, such as TKMS, Navantia and Naval Group».

Three weeks later, the Madrid-based firm denied the French reports. «Navantia has not received any request from Morocco for the possible construction of submarines for its navy», a spokesperson for the Spanish state-owned shipbuilding company told ECD.

The spokesperson said that the company «insists that its services have no record that such request has been made».

Navantia's response and France

Navantia’s answer comes a week after Morocco’s Upper House adopted two bills, delimiting the country’s maritime borders. Opposition parties in Spain, especially in the Canary Islands, have criticized Morocco’s decision. The majority government adopts the same position but is forced to remain silent so as not to upset Rabat.

Navantia's spokesperson's denial comes also as Supreme Commander and Chief of General Staff of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR), the Lieutenant General, FAR Inspector General received, Thursday at the FAR General Staff premises in Rabat, the French minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly. While in Morocco, the latter held talks with the Minister for the National Defense Administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi.

La Tribune announced in January that Naval Group «is working on an infrastructure recovery project in the port of Casablanca, the second of its kind in Morocco, in order to upgrade Moroccan military ships (three Sigma corvettes sold by the Dutch Schelde in 2011 and 2012 and the multi-mission frigate FREMM sold in 2008) as well as foreign ships».

In its statement, Navantia has not yet denied the offer it made to Morocco to order two of its patrollers for 260 million Euros. Obviously, for the Spanish, this project would not be likely to affect the balance in Gibraltar, the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.

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