Hope/Progressive Yard Delivers Patrol Boat To Bolivian Navy
The 67-foot patrol boat Santa Cruz de la Sierra (shown above) was christened at a recent ceremony held at the Hope/Progressive shipyard in Houma, La. The new vessel, ordered by the Naval Forces of the Republic of Bolivia, was built under contract with Napco International Inc. of Minneapolis. Napco is an international marketing firm that supplies a full line of defenserelated products to the U.S. Government and the governments of more than 60 nations around the world. Hope/Progressive is an established group of companies specializing in offshore fabrication of structures, oilfield equipment, living quarters, and high-performance aluminum vessels.
The ceremony included a Catholic Mass celebrated by Father Timbre of St. Francis de Sales Church, followed by the blessing of the vessel's flags, emblem, and crew. Title to the vessel was handed over to the commanding officer, Capt. Marco Antonio Justiniano, by Joseph Jany, treasurer of Napco International, as flags were raised and the Bolivian National Anthem played over the vessel's public address system.
The festivities coincided with Dias de la Armada—Navy Day of Bolivia. "This event is of great significance to Bolivia," said Captain Justiniano. "It is an historical landmark for our Navy because it is the first patrol boat of this size and category," he stated.
The new patrol boat, built of high-strength aluminum, is a unique design specified by the Bolivian Navy, and incorporates the latest technology and state-of-the-art electronic equipment. It will operate in rivers, protecting Bolivia's borders, and in drug interdiction duty.
The captain and his nine-man crew are delivering the vessel. After leaving Houma he will travel southwest through the Gulf of Mexico, along the coast of South America, and upon entering the River Plate in Argentina will proceed by river to Bolivia. The total distance to be covered is more than 6,000 miles, and with stopovers is estimated to last approximately 50 days.
The captain and his engineers were well satisfied with the quality of the vessel and its performance. They consider their experience during the sea trials as very significant. This should assure the continuity of relations between the Bolivian Navy and the American companies that participated in the project.