KUWAIT: Ambassador of Italy to Kuwait Giuseppe Scognamiglio (center) and Commander of Margottini Giuseppe Lai (right) pose in front of the European Multi Mission Frigate (FREMM) “Carlo Margottini”. —Photo by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: The European Multi Mission Frigate (FREMM) 'Carlo Margottini' welcomed the local media aboard the ship on Monday on the last day of a four-day visit to the country. The navy ship was docked at Shuwaikh Port. Ambassador of Italy to Kuwait Giuseppe Scognamiglio and Commander of Margottini Giuseppe Lai met the reporters. The navy ship departed from La Spezia on Feb 20, 2018 and went to Qatar - where it participated in the sixth edition of the Doha International Maritime Defense Exposition and Conference (DIMDEX 2018). It then went to Saudi Arabia, and from Kuwait will go the United Arab Emirates. Margottini will also visit Djibouti in April to take command of the European Union-led counter-piracy operation 'Atalanta'.

"We are very proud of this visit of the Carlo Margottini navy ship to Kuwait. This shows our friendship and our well-established military and bilateral cooperation with this country. Many Kuwaiti officers have studied in Italy and we are happy to be part of their journey," Scognamiglio said.

The deployment of the Italian FREMM frigate - besides ensuring presence and surveillance aimed at protecting sea lines of communication of national interest - is included among the activities that the Italian navy conducts with allied and friendly nations in a framework of multinational cooperation and dialogue among countries. This activity also allows ensuring a qualified presence in a number of foreign countries, while strengthening or starting relationships with potential partners with which Italy maintains important political, diplomatic, and economic relations, in the framework of the Italian navy's institutional tasks.

The naval unit is a product of the Italian "country system", in which the crew's operational capability effectively combines with systems provided by the European and, in particular, Italian industry, notably including major Italian industrial groups such as Fincantieri, Leonardo, MBDA and Elettronica, whose partnership with the Italian navy allowed the realization of this campaign.

"Our visit here is to strengthen our brotherly ties and foster our navy cooperation with our counterparts. We also want to support the Italian shipbuilding industry. After our visit here, the ship will be deployed to Djibouti to support the European-led international campaign to prevent and protect that area from piracy," Lai said. "We met with our counterpart officials here and the governor of the capital," he added.

Carlo Margottini - commanded by Cmdr Lai - is a ship of the Italian-French FREMM program. She was launched on June 29, 2013 at Riva Trigoso (Italy) shipyard, and delivered to the Italian navy on Feb 27, 2014. She received her combat flag on April 22, 2016 in Reggio Calabria (Italy). Carrying the hull number F 592, according to the NATO classification, ITS Margottini is a new-generation frigate capable of being employed in various operating contexts. She is the third Italian FREMM, and the second in ASW version. With a crew of 168 men and women - almost half as many as frigates of other classes - Margottini has a displacement of 6,700 tons and reaches a maximum speed of 27 knots.

By Ben Garcia