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The POVZEE (patrullero oceánico de vigilancia de la zona económica exclusiva) vessels are being built by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia for the Venezuelan Navy. The vessels are specially designed to perform surveillance operations in the ocean exclusive economic zone of Venezuela. The major roles of the vessel are to control and monitor the exclusive economic zone, protect the maritime traffic and support the other units.
In November 2005, the Venezuelan Navy signed a contract for four POVZEE vessels and four smaller coastguard ships. The vessels are scheduled for delivery between November 2009 and July 2011. The ships are being built at Navantia's Puerto Real shipyard in the province of Cadiz, Spain. The steel of the first vessel, Caribe, was cut in November 2007 and the keel was laid in September 2008. The Caribe was launched in June 2009 and is scheduled to enter service in May 2010.
The construction of the second vessel, Warao, began in September 2008 and the keel was laid in May 2009. The vessel has been launched in October 2009. The remaining two vessels, the Yecuana and Guaicaipuro, are under construction.
POVZEE vessels are equipped with an Oto Melara 76mm gun. The gun is suitable for corvettes and patrol boats. The gun has a traverse range of 360° and an elevation of -15°/+85°. It can fire 120 rounds a minute with a maximum fire range of 30,000m. It also has 85 rounds readily available in the gun mount. The other weapons include two 12.7mm and two 35mm machine guns.