Hamburg - A German shipbuilding company rejected on Thursday Greek criticism of an advanced fuel-cell-powered submarine, the Papanikolis, that has been bought by the Greek Navy.

An Athens official said earlier in the day Greece was refusing to take delivery of the 65-metre-long submarine, which has a displacement of 1,700 tons, because it did not meet "international standards."

In Hamburg, the ThyssenKrupp company said the Papanikolis had been the prototype of the new Type 214 series and various problems had emerged during a year and a half of testing it at sea. These had been fixed.

"Technically, it meets the agreed terms, and it is a very good submarine," said a company spokeswoman.

The Papanikolis is the first of four submarines of the type being sold to the Greek Navy. The other three are to be built at Hellenic Shipyards near Athens. The Type 214 was developed for export and has some similarities to the Type 212A supplied to the German Navy.

The hybrid power includes a fuel cell so that the submarines can remain under water for many days at a stretch.

Greece`s deputy government spokesman, Evangelos Antonaros, said earlier Thursday that Athens would not accept delivery of the vessel unless it fulfilled all the requirements and international standards.

Greek news reports earlier said there had been a row between the Navy and the suppliers.

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