HMS Ocean's sale is a '˜sad loss' for the Royal Navy, expert says
DEFENCE experts have branded the sale of the Royal Navy's current flagship a '˜sad loss' for the nation.
HMS Ocean is reportedly being sold by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to Brazil for £84.3m – four years after the amphibious assault vessel was given a £65m overhaul.
The sale of the Plymouth-based ship comes amid wider cost-cutting measures.
Retired naval officer Mike Critchley, of Gosport, said the move was a sad indictment of the issues still plaguing defence.
The ex-editor of Warship World said: ‘HMS Ocean is now 20 years old and frankly the MoD don’t have the money to refit her again for further service – or more importantly the manpower to keep her operational or the helicopters she needs.
‘The offer of £84m from Brazil will help towards sorting out the poor state of the black hole in the defence budget and cover the cost of her last expensive refit.
‘She will be missed but we have to face the tough financial facts that surround us.’
HMS Ocean became the navy’s flagship in 2015. But months later it was revealed she would be taken out of service in 2018.
The ship is the largest fully operational warship in the navy, with the Senior Service’s new 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth still a couple of years away from being ready to deploy.
The MoD said: ‘Discussions with Brazil over the long-planned sale of HMS Ocean are at an advanced stage, but no final decisions have been made.’
A spokesman added Ocean’s sale would be ‘reinvested in defence’ to support the navy’s newer frigates and aircraft carriers.