The primary tasks of the Finnish Border Guard include maintaining border security and maritime security as well as military national defence.
Finland has a challenging maritime operating environment. Transport in the very narrow sea areas is very busy and diverse. Major accidents and close calls occur regularly. A thorough and long-term change in the security environment increases the risks of disturbances in border security and of serious accidents at sea.
The operational ability of the Border Guard in the open sea is based to a large extent on the constant operation and readiness of multi-purpose patrol vessels. The patrol vessels are at sea about 330 days a year.
The Border Guard has three patrol vessels in operation, of which the Turva, which was launched in 2014, is up to date. The patrol vessels Tursas and Uisko are at the end of their life cycles.
The Finnish Border Guard’s Offshore Patrol Vessel 2025 project has been ongoing since 2019. The aim of the project is to replace the obsolete vessels with two Turva class offshore patrol vessels. The new ships will be operational until the 2050s.
In a call for tenders in 2021 the Border Guard selected Meyer Turku as the shipyard that will build the vessels. The ship construction contract was signed today, 29 June 2022 in Helsinki. The basic design work of the new vessels is beginning immediately. The first ship is scheduled for completion in 2025 and the second in 2026.
The introduction of the new high-performing ships will significantly improve Finland’s maritime security. The supervision and effectiveness of the vessels is to be upgraded in accordance with the security situation. The exchange of situational information with the Defence Forces is seamless. The ability to carry out mass evacuations of people will grow. Each of the vessels will be immediately ready for managing serious environmental disasters and the capacity to collect spilled oil will approximately double from the present level. The ships are to be designed for low emissions and for energy efficiency. They will also have modern dual fuel hybrid engines.
Parliament has authorised EUR 448 million in funding to pay for the order. Finland also plans to apply to the EU’s Border Management and Visa Instrument for funding for the project.