HAMPSHIRE-based BAE Systems today handed over the first of three ocean patrol vessels to the Brazilian Navy.

The defence giant signed a £133m deal to supply the ships, originally built for Trinidad & Tobago, for maritime security roles.

Amazonas, the first of the three, was handed over in a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base attended by international security strategy minister Gerald Howarth.

Mick Ord, managing director of BAE Systems’ Naval Ships business, said: “We are proud to deliver AMAZONAS to the Brazilian Navy today.

"The handover of the first ship marks both a significant stage in the programme and the close working relationship we are forming with Brazil.

"I am sure these highly capable vessels will be a great asset to the Brazilian Navy.”

Southampton-based Moss Marine Construction did the outfitting work on the OPVs.

BAE Systems is also providing training for over 80 members of AMAZONAS’ crew, currently based in Portsmouth, in areas such as seamanship, electronics and propulsion.

The ship will leave for Plymouth in July, where the crew will complete their training programme before setting sail for Brazil in August.