(NSI News Source Info) May 27, 2009: The Minister of National Defence, Nuno Severiano Teixeira, presided over the May 19 ceremony marking the delivery of the first of two Bartolomeu Dias-class frigates. The ceremony was attended by the Dutch Minister of Defence, Eimert van Middelkoop, and of the chiefs of the two countries’ naval staffs.In May 2006, Portugal's National Defense Minister, Luís Amado, showed interest in buying two Karel Doorman class frigates to replace the two remaining frigates of the João Belo class in service with the Portuguese Navy — instead of buying two frigates of the Oliver Hazard Perry class, offered by the United States. A committee of the Portuguese government arrived in the Netherlands to evaluate the condition of two frigates to be bought. In the end of May 2006, the Portuguese Government Official News Bulletin published the order for the creation of an Official Portuguese Navy's "technical team" to supervise the transfer of two M-Class Frigates to Portugal. On November 1st 2006, the Portuguese Defense Minister Nuno Severiano Teixeira signed a contract for the purchase of the frigates Van Nes and Van Galen. Van Nes, renamed NRP Bartolomeu Dias (F333), was transferred to Portugal on January 16, 2009 and Van Galen, renamed NRP Francisco de Almeida (F334) will be transferred on November 1, 2009. With the sale of two M-class frigates to Portugal only two of the eight ships will remain with the Dutch Navy.
The M-class frigates, built in the Netherlands during the 1990s, are modern-technology multi-purpose vessels, capable of carrying out anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air warfare missions, and are thus also suited for anti-terrorism operations.
Their specific characteristics will allow Portugal to continue to operate an ocean-going naval force capable of carrying out both national missions, such as sovereignty and law enforcement at sea, and in support of the state’s international missions, when integrated into naval forces of NATO and the European Union.
These frigates, whose cost is 240 million euros, are being purchased under the current Military Program Law. The acquisition contract was signed with the Netherlands on November 1, 2006.