First Navy patrol boat bought from Spain arrives in Venezuela
"Today (Friday), the first coastal patrol vessel bought from Spain arrived in Turiamo port," Chávez told state-run TV channel Venezolana de Televisión.
"The empire (the United States) tried to prevent this. So I must thank the Government of Spain and the strength of the government of (José Luis) Rodríguez Zapatero, because the US exerted a lot of pressure to prevent the construction of these patrol boats for Venezuela," added the ruler, Efe reported.
The vessel was delivered to the Venezuelan Navy on March 2 in the town of San Fernando, stopped in the Canary Islands before docking at Turiamo, the main naval base of the Venezuelan Navy.
"This ship will allow us to monitor the 12 nautical miles comprising Venezuelan territorial sea, but it has capacity to go beyond," the president said.
He briefly described the patrol boat's defense features and said that to a helicopter deck, the boat carries a 76 mm cannon and other equipment.
Venezuela bought from Spain three coastal patrol boats and four ocean patrol boats that will be delivered in 2010 and 2011.
"They are intended to defend our maritime space and the wealth we have, namely, freedom and sovereignty of Venezuela," Chávez argued.
Guaicamacuto is 79.90 meters long, and displaces 1,500 tons, with a maximum speed of 22 knots.