Navy-Defense Ministry squabble delays gas fields protection

The Navy prefers a cheaper German bid for ships to protect gas rigs, but the Defense Ministry wants a deal with Korea.

The Navy is angry at the Ministry of Defense's strange conduct, which is liable to delay the plan to protect Israel's offshore gas drilling rigs by three years. The dispute began over the two bids to supply ships which were submitted to the ministry, one German and the other South Korean. A document obtained by "Channel 2 News" shows, that, in April 2013, the commander of the Navy and senior officers decided that they preferred the German bid, which was also cheaper than the South Korean bid by NIS 500 million.

Nonetheless, several top Ministry of Defense officials have insisted on a deal with South Korea. In the past few weeks, top ministry officials met at least twice with Korean officials. Defense sources believe that this may be an attempt to compensate Seoul for an earlier deal which did not materialize.

The Ministry of Defense said in response, "The information presented is only partial. We are conducting thorough staff work on the matter. After reviewing the various bids, the Ministry of Defense decided to publish a tender for ships to protect the rigs."

If it is decided to hold a tender at this stage, it means a delay of almost three years in the protection of the gas rigs, protection which was supposed to be ready this year.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 16, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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