Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean is heading to the Caribbean to provide relief following a recent hurricane.
HMS Ocean has reportedly been diverted from her deployment in the Mediterranean after Hurricane Irma passed through the Caribbean.
RFA Mounts Bay is already in the region providing assistance.
HMS Ocean is a 22,000 tonne amphibious assault ship, the UK’s helicopter carrier and the fleet flagship of the Royal Navy. She is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander UK Amphibious Force and Commander UK Landing Force.
This comes as the rumoured purchase of HMS Ocean by the Brazilian Navy still has a few hurdles to overcome but they’ve already picked out a name.
We understand from Roberto Lopes via e-mail, the source who let us know that Brazil has already submitted a payment plan for the vessel, that the officers involved in the ship acquisition process are optimistic and are already discussing details beyond the technical and financial assessments that have been made, such as the name of the ship.
“Minas Gerais is the strongest designation at the time. Rio de Janeiro was ‘saved’ for the future aircraft carrier”, the source continued “However, nothing definite. Only with the execution of the acquisition is that defined.”
According to someone we spoke to currently on-board the vessel, there are rumours that this is one of a number of possibilities:
“People have been talking about what will happen to the ship after 2018, there were rumours that the vessel might be sold to another navy but there’s been no mention of what navy that might be.”
The helicopter carrier was constructed in the mid-1990s and commissioned in September 1998.
In November 2015, the MoD confirmed that HMS Ocean is to be decommissioned in 2018 with no like-for-like replacement.
This comes as the Brazilian Navy have decided to abandon the refit of the aircraft carrier Sao Paulo and decommission the vessel after a series of technical issues and accidents.
Rectification costs are understood to be a major factor in this decision.
The Sao Paulo is a Clemenceau class aircraft carrier commissioned in 1963 by the French Navy as Foch and was transferred in 2000 to Brazil, where she became the new flagship of the Brazilian Navy. The earlier intention of the navy was that the vessel would continue in active service until 2039, at which time the vessel would be nearly 80 years old.
IHS Janes reported that during its career with the Brazilian Navy, São Paulo has suffered from ‘serviceability issues and has never managed to operate for more than three months at a time without the need for repairs and maintenance’.
It is no surprise therefore that the navy have now announced, as reported by DefesaNet, that the ship will be ‘demobilised and subsequently decommissioned’.