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Portuguese minister: “Morocco buying submarines”

“Morocco is interested in developing an underwater capability. We will work with Morocco to develop its underwater capacity. Morocco is currently buying submarines (…),” Portuguese Defense Minister João Gomes Cravinho said Friday, July 12, according to media sources.

He spoke after talks with Abdellatif Loudyi, Minister Delegate in charge of the administration of National Defense who has just made a stay in Lisbon where he visited the naval base of Lisbon and its flagship, the arsenal of Alfeite, the famous Portuguese military shipyard.

Portugal, a country with a great naval tradition, develops itself its submarine repair and maintenance capabilities.

Moroccan-Portuguese naval cooperation flows naturally. Morocco has strengthened its navy, including through equipment (frigate Fremm), infrastructure (naval base Ksar Sghir) and joint exercises with other countries.

The natural position of Morocco, after this strengthening of the Royal Navy, makes it a pivot in the south-west of the Mediterranean and the north-west flank of Africa.

According to the Brazilian newspaper, quoting João Gomes Cravinho, “there are obvious synergies for both sides”, as Portugal and Morocco share a “very wide maritime boundary” and “similar concerns about the Atlantic: especially on Europe-Africa relations, work on migratory flows or the “fight against terrorism.” Portugal will therefore receive Moroccan sailors aboard its own submarines during exercises.

In the end, these declarations and information confirm that Morocco is interested in future submarine capabilities and that it is designing its own doctrine in this area. But nothing indicates an immediate acquisition, except surprise. A military expert recently told Médias24 that there will not be, according to him, any purchase of submarines by Morocco until 2022.

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