Redivivus Corvette War (1): Dutch Damen Group in the dispute for the Constanta Shipyard

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By Constantin Radut
The winner of the international tender for the construction of four multifunctional corvettes for the Romanian Naval Forces had to be announced by January 15, 2018. A few days before, the Minister of National Defense announced that the admission procedure of the winner was suspended. Cause? One of the subcontractors, Constanţa Shipyard (SNC), asked the military court to cancel the auction. SNC was a co-partner with Naval Group France. The first term to the military court was on January 16, 2019. The military court postponed the sentence until February 20.
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Remind: Romania has assumed, in line with the NATO Strategy, a 2% share of GDP for the armed forces and the endowment of the army with high performance equipment. Over the next five years, the budget of the Ministry of Defense and the companies in the military endowment sectors will have financial funds of over 10 billion euros.
They were signed or negotiating agreements with multinationals from the US, Germany, France for the endowment of air and ground forces with top technique.
Unlike in previous years, the Government of Bucharest wants the agreements with big foreign companies to have the offset component as strong and advantageous as possible for the Romanian industry.
In 2018, a total of nearly 2 billion euros was earmarked for the Romanian Naval Forces for the purchase of four multifunctional corvettes equipped with weapons and the modernization of two frigates of the Romanian Military Navy.
An international tender was held. Finally, three companies were detained. In November 2018, the financial offers were opened. These were: Fincantieri / Italy, offered 1.34 billion euros, Damen / Holland – 1.255 billion and Naval Grup / France – 1.2 billion.
All the arguments for winning showed to Naval Group-France. Stupidity, however. Constanţa Shipyard (SNC) has requested the annulment of the GD no. 48/2018, a normative act that underpins the procurement procedure for the “Multifunctional Corvette” procurement program. Why did the SNC do this? Who serves? Was the SNC injured by the Naval Group or another company?
There are many questions and many answers are expected.
The most controversial bidder is, apparently, the Dutch Damen Group. The Dutch group is present in Romania where it owns, starting with 1999, at Damen Shipyards Galati, a large shipyard on the Danube, and since 2018 it has the management of the largest maritime site in Romania, Mangalia Shipyards, close to Constanta. Many analysts and specialists in the military sector show that Damen Group has been pursuing for many years the acquisition of Constanta Shipyard, now owned by a Romanian businessman. Damen Group and Dutch authorities are very interested in Constanta, both the shipyard and Port of Constanta, the largest port on the Black Sea. Specialists in the field show that the Dutch would suffer “total damage” if the Romanian state were able to put the top of the list of strategic national projects on the modernization and expansion of Constanta Port. Which, with a possible entry of our country into the Schengen area, would almost bring Rotterdam Port in great difficulty, because transport of goods through Constanta Port to Western Europe is much cheaper. Constanta Port has virtually become the absolute priority of the Dutch secret services, which have long been content to keep it in an ambiguous situation.
To reach Constanta Port, the Dutch want Constanta Shipyard first …

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