Morocco usually buys its military seacraft from France, and the negotiations come amid tension over the water surrounding the Canary Islands.
Rabat –Spanish news outlet El Pais reports that the deal only awaits the approval of King Mohammed VI.
The boats are set to cost approximately €260 million, a price tag that includes a contract for continued maintenance.
Belonging to the family of Avante boats from the Navantia shipyard in southern Spain, the patrol boats would be the first Morocco has bought from Spain in three decades. Morocco has previously acquired military seacraft from France and the Netherlands.
Spanish government and industrial sources told El Pais that the patrol boats would be similar to those Navantia built for Venezuela, 80-meter long boats of 1,500 tons. The dimensions correspond to the Avante 1400.
Avante 1400 boats, designed to patrol coastlines, have a capacity for 35 crew members and 29 additional people as well as a landing space for a helicopter.
The Moroccan navy frequently rescues irregular migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean or Atlantic to Europe in flimsy boats. Spain has advocated for the EU to give Morocco funding in order to better control immigration to Europe. Morocco’s assistance in controlling the border could make the sale of the boats more palatable to Spain in the midst of tensions over the Moroccan maritime border.
On December 16, the foreign committee in the Moroccan Parliament approved two laws defining Morocco’s sea border. The newly outlined maritime border includes the waters surrounding the Canary Islands.