HAMPSHIRE shipbuilders BAE Systems have handed over a vessel to the Brazilian Navy in a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Apa is the second of three ocean patrol vessels ordered by the Brazilian government from BAE, in a £133 million contract.

Employees joined guests from the Brazilian and UK Royal Navies, to watch as members of the ship’s company raised the ensign for the first time, formally marking the handover of the Brazilian Navy’s newest vessel.

Mick Ord, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Maritime - Naval Ships business, said: “We are extremely proud to deliver APA to the Brazilian Navy today. She is a highly capable ship and will be a great asset to the Brazilian Navy.

“As we continue to build on our relationship with the Brazilian Navy, our team will now focus on supporting APA’s crew through a comprehensive training programme before she sets sail for Brazil in February. On arrival she will join the Brazilian fleet and her sister ship, AMAZONAS.”

Rear Admiral Francisco Deiana, the Brazilian Navy’s Director of Naval Engineering, said: “The delivery of second of class, APA, will further strengthen our ability to provide security, safety and protection to the Brazilian Jurisdictional Waters, joining her sister AMAZONAS in the Navy’s Rio de Janeiro District Force. The brand new Ocean Patrol Vessel APA is no doubt a very important asset to the Brazilian Navy’s inventory.”

The third ship, Araguari, is expected to be delivered in April 2013.