HMS Ocean entered Plymouth for the last time in Royal Navy service today and was welcomed by well-wishers and flanked by landing craft and tugs firing water hoses high into the air.

The amphibious helicopter and commando carrier sailed into Devonport Naval Base with her decks lined by the crew in dress uniforms, and with the traditional 203-metre decommissioning pennant flying. She is to decommission from the Royal Navy at a ceremony in Devonport on 27th March.

The commanding officer of HMS Ocean, Captain Robert Pedre, said:

“My ship’s company and I are immensely proud to serve in HMS Ocean, the Fleet Flagship of the Royal Navy, as I am sure the people of Plymouth are proud their city has been home to the ship for nearly two decades. 

Our final entry into Devonport will understandably be tinged with sadness, as we reflect on a truly remarkable operational period for HMS Ocean and the many significant achievements we have accomplished together on this great warship. 

HMS Ocean’s decommissioning pennant pays testament to her extraordinary operational record spanning two decades of Royal Navy service, proudly serving as a safeguard for our nation’s interests globally.”

In her 20 years of service, HMS Ocean has been involved in operations off Sierra Leone (2000), off Iraq (2003), off Libya (2011) and, most recently, humanitarian operations in the Caribbean. The ship has conducted the evacuation of British nationals and other entitled personnel from numerous areas of conflict around the world and delivered humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to thousands in need, to name, but a few of her operational highlights.

Last year HMS Ocean completed the last three months of a seven-month operational deployment to the Middle East as Flagship of the normally US-led Combined Task Force 50, and deployed as a NATO flagship in the summer.  On arriving in the Eastern Mediterranean, she rapidly responded in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, steaming 4,500 nautical miles across the Atlantic to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to four Caribbean territories over a fortnight of operations.

Recently, Brazil confirmed the purchase of British helicopter carrier HMS Ocean.

We were informed by a source in the Brazilian defence community that the vessel has been sold for £84 million. Roberto Lopes has informed us that the purchase of HMS Ocean by the Brazilian Navy was confirmed within the last week by Brazilian Defence Minister Raul Jungmann.

We understand the first group of four Brazilian officers will head to the UK within the next few weeks. We also understand that there are doubts over the retention of the Phalanx CIWS by Brazil but are unsure regarding the reasons why. The vessel will remain in the UK until October or November this year.

This comes not long after we reported that three more Boeing P-8 maritime reconnaissance aircraft have been ordered by the MoD and will be based at Lossiemouth. All nine will be based at Lossiemouth and this news confirms that with three more on the order books there are now a total of five confirmed orders.

We broke the news in March that Brazil was interested in helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, this has now been confirmed by the Brazilian government. Then in April, we reported that the Brazilian Navy had reportedly sent a proposal to pay for helicopter carrier HMS Ocean in instalments.

According to Brazilian journalist Roberto Lopes in an e-mail to us, the ship’s cost to the Brazilian Navy is fixed at £84.3 million pounds (312 million Brazilian Reais). Commander of the Brazilian Navy, Admiral Eduardo Leal Ferreira, claimed that the price of Ocean seemed “convenient”.

Earlier in the year, IHS Janes reported that Brazil’s MoD authorised efforts to purchase Ocean once she leaves UK service.

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. However, nothing definite. Only with the execution of the acquisition is that defined.”

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.

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Enough to make your blood boil. Why do successive British governments hate ‘ a wealth of riches’ and a keenness or a propensity, to scrap or sell off perfectly serviceable kit? Forty Tornados go this year and will end up on the Marham dump by Spring next year. Not due to fatigue or unreliability, but because the MOD sees them as redundant or some other daft rational? I doubt the recent recipients of their weapon loads would agree! No, this is nothing short of vandalism, and I fear the two assault ships will soon follow.


Maurice – Sorry but you are so wrong on both points.
HMS Ocean has served its purpose and done it well. It is a one ship class and therefore expensive to maintain and crew and is now redundant. She is being sold not scrapped.

And as for Tornados they are going in 2019 not 2018 and whenever they do go its (again) because they have served their purpose, done it well but are now redundant (and as it happens old technology and expensive to maintain). Maybe grab a beer, have a read of this and calm yourself:


The merchant Navy could man her if required and held in readiness in the meantime. As for Tornado, I understand they are old tech but like the Harrier, Jaguar, and Buccaneer were all upgraded to fly, in some cases for years. The Tornado is still a useful plane and has shown how capable it is whilst engaged against targets in the Middle East. I would retain them until the F35 fleet is really established. I’m sure there are a number of pilots who would be happy to keep them going until both them, and the planes are retired? The UK… Read more »

Edd Beadling

40 years old that’s how old the tornado will be by retirement the cost of maintaining them must be huge! Not to mention that due to the large amount missions flown in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan over the last decade many airframes are coming up to their limit! This added to the fact the Typhoon can now do all and more than the Tornado why keep them? By 2019 I expect we will have or be very close to one squadron of fully operational F-35’s Ocean however is a different matter we could of kept her for another year, now… Read more »


Err…HMS is currently performing flight trials with Merlin and Chinook. What I see is a plan coming together. As Ocean leaves the stage enter QE stage left with perfect timing.


Forty years old is not what is important, it’s their airworthiness that matters. There are a number of airforces using Tornado, and their OOS dates will be later than the RAF machines. If age is so important in determining retirement, then what the hell is the B52 still doing in service? Most of the current Tornados have been rebuilt and updated, some many times since they were originally built. As for F35’s they will be far from frontline ready in 2019, even if they get enough airframes.I believe the Navy has penned in 2022/23 before the carrier squadrons will be… Read more »


20 years great service – thank you to all crew and everyone involved in what has been a great career. Time to move on and I am supportive of the decision to sell Ocean to our ally Brazil, and I hope she does as well for them as she has for us. The next 30 years + are all about the QEC and regeneration of the RN as Britain returns to it expeditionary roots. I personally think an Army of 64k is the right size within a single force structure that sees an increased Navy (36k excluding RM) and RAF… Read more »


Expeditionary roots? Just out of interest who do you see us invading?


Hopefully no one Paul, but I do see us re-in forcing NATO colleagues and believe we should not have bases on mainland Europe. We should be ready and prepared to re-inforce Europe quickly if required and be able to put an expeditionary force anywhere in the world (but really the Northern flank). I also dont see a big need for tanks – and would rather have 200+ apaches instead working alongside our warriors and MIV’s. I know this isn’t liked by many – I just think tanks have had their day for the UK – but should we need them… Read more »


I think Putin’s big ambitions are to bring the Ukraine back into the Russian fold and he would like a Russian corridor to Kaliningrad. I do think we need to posirion heavy armour where it is likely to be needed. You cant quickly reimforce with 80 ton tanks in numbers, that’s just the laws of physics. That said, I agree the best dedence against tanks is Apache and Typhoon with Brimstone. I don’t see the Northern flank as a concern. There was a recent article in the Express saying Astute 7 could be cancelled to make the cuts to the… Read more »

Dave Branney

Unfortunately with every attack concept a counter is developed. Take Apache, it has been the King of the battlefield after taking over from the tank. However, Israel then deigned Trophy the Active Protection System for their Merkava 3/4 tanks. It was originally designed to defeat RPGs launched from roof tops and alley ways whilst operating in an urban environment. However, due to the numerous border incursions in to Gaza, it has proved itself against modern guided anti tank missiles for example Kornet which is one of the latest Russian ATGMs. This missile is also fitted to Mi24, 28 and Ka50s… Read more »


Where will the £84 million go? I guess not the MOD if Hammond has anything to do with it.

Martin Symes

£84 million might pay the MP’s bar bill…… for a month.


MOD salaries and pensions like the rest of the defence budget.

Daniele Mandelli

I’m always saddened how Great Britain makes such a big think of decline. Is there this much fanfare with jets of water in the air and escorts when something enters service apart from the QEC? Ideally we need a dedicated LPH replacement but as has been well discussed here and elsewhere that is not happening at present. The QEC can easily cover the Company size air assault role. Not ideal using your Fleet Carrier but this is what we face. The landing Craft Ocean carries ( 4 Assault Squadron RM ) should ideally be transferred to The Bays, but will… Read more »


If the landing craft are part of the Brazil deal I could see them being useful in a riverine role in the Amazon.

Daniele Mandelli

Good point.


I am still confused about whether it is the intention that QE class will be able ( after refit if necessary) to launch landing craft i.e. act as a true replacement for Ocean.

Daniele Mandelli

I don’t believe so. I don’t want them to either.


There is a great article on Think Defence on FLO/FLO solutions that are both inexpensive and very flexible. Ultimately I think the RN should probably buy 8 of these (4 immediately and 4 when the RORO’s are due). These vessels can do what we require and at £100m each offer so much flexibility and utility and importantly there is a global market for them – so we can rent them out when we don’t need them and probably cover their costs in a couple of years. OK – these aren’t dedicated ships (actually thats the point of them) but they… Read more »


No one pays top dollar for cast offs. So not much at all. Barely anything relatively, no more than the cost of a refit. If you get very lucky you might get a UK yard to handle a refit after sale. However usually when a country buys a ship from abroad they usually give that work to a domestic yard as a salve to their own industries.


Ocean has been a great ship and proved very valuable to the country. We all know the financial/manpower pressures but a few more years could have been squeezed out of her. I hope her legacy is not forgotten and we remember what you can achieve without spending a fortune on gold plating everything we buy. She and the Bays have been fantastic servants, very capable and economic to run. The retention of the LPDs is now essential and long term two 25,000t cost effectively built LHDs to replace the LPDs would get us back the dedicated amphibious airborne and sealift… Read more »


sjb – I was with you in your opening remarks but have to disagree over any new ships being LHDs. And certainly cannot agree we scrap LPDs to build LHDs. We need to ADD larger versions of Albion and Bulwark not build another Ocean. We have the QEs to handle air power at sea and they can deliver more, and a bigger variety of, aircraft than can another Ocean. Any new investment must be in LPDs so we can land bigger armoured vehicles to support the RMs. Just a few Challengers crewed by RMs would be decisive in initial landings.… Read more »


Its better to sell it off at this price than the scrap value which is negligible, all things said Ocean has been great for the UK taxpayer and the RN.


Chris my words were long term replacement of the LPDs i.e when they have reached the end of their service lives. I like you don’t like waste and scrapping perfectly useful equipment is the worst kind. On your second point I think you are confusing LPH and LHD. Two LHDs with docks of the size of our current LPDs plus a hangar at 25,000t is the answer. We don’t need another LPH design.
Exposing a QE supercarrier inshore to ferry men via helicopter is not wise and is very high risk.


Really! having refitted less than 3 years ago it i thought it was a load of junk.


Come to think of it,she was a load of junk when launched.

Mr Bell

This is not a good news story- do not get me wrong I think the QE carriers are great and once we actually get enough F35Bs onboard them to deliver real airpower then they should prove truelly awe inspiring vessels. Problems are huge though- we have not got the full remit of vessels and support to deliver true carrier strike- the numbers of escort warships in the RN are woefully and dangerously low. We need the MOD to commit to more than 48 F35Bs in active service- a follow on order for a further 64+ jets is needed asap. The… Read more »


The reason they are probably querying CIWS Phalanx may something to do with ITAR. You cannot just sell on military kit if it contains US derived equipment or equipment that contains restricted items ( Even if its a single IC Chip on a single board) . You need permission and a license from the US Dept of Commerce or you find yourself on the receiving end of a court case and a massive fine. BAe got caught out a few years ago selling on the T23s to Chile (amongst many other violations). That case came with a 400Mil Dollar fine!… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

I’m surprised Gunbuster that the RN is not keeping the CIWS to add to its existing pool of Phalanx?


It may be unless the RN are buying in new builds of the latest version of Phalanx with the FLIR mod fitted. Oceans phalanx are probably pretty old and worn by now. it may be more cost effective to go with new.