THE first of three ocean patrol vessels was this morning handed over to the Brazilian navy at a ceremony in Portsmouth Naval Base.
The Amazonas was built by BAE Systems, originally for the Trinidad and Tobago government, in a deal worth £150m.
But that deal fell through, and instead the vessel and its two sister ships were bought by the Brazilian government for £133m.
This morning members of the Brazilian Navy, the Royal Navy and the UK government watched as the vessel was officially handed over.
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.’
The BAE Systems flag was lowered by Stacey Tait, training and support manager on the Amazonas programme, and was replaced by the Brazilian flag at the ship’s stern.
The vessel was christened by the Honorable Abassadaress Cinara Maria Fonseca de Lima, who smashed a bottle of Champagne against the ship’s hull during the ceremony.
The official agreement to hand the vessel over was signed below deck after the ceremony had finished.
Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It was a really great ceremony, and this deal works well for everyone - for BAE and the Brazilian Navy.’