The 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’.


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Lars Cocklehurst

Are we dumping Ocean due to manpower issues or is it obsolete so soon after building ?

Peter Bezemer

Its a bit like this one:

“All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics. TSR.2 simply got the first three right.”
– Sir Sydney Camm

David Stone

The TV documentary on board Ocean last year (I think), suggested the mechanics are ageing and the sailors were constantly fighting to keep it going. It will require new power plants at the very least, despite the last refit. It was built to commercial standards rather than military (I believe, I’m no naval expert) and is reaching the the expected life span. Perhaps the biggest problem is the lack of a like for like replacement, with reliance on the new carriers to fill the role. Whilst the QE and PoW will be able to deliver the amphibious capability, I’m not… Read more »

David Stephen

The carrier wont go close to shore but can launch helos to lilly pad on the amphibious ships which will be closer to shore.


Not realistic I know, but the Mistral class ships that eventually went to Egypt may have been a quick and cheap option. Or not. Just thinking aloud and I’m sure there were drawbacks.

David Stephen

Both, she was built to last only 20 years using commercial standards and we need the 600 crew for POW.


The new carriers will be needed for air support roles in landings but that can be done far from that shore, the actual landings would be conducted by the newer then ocean bulwark class.


I dont know anything about ship construction but surely ships built to commercial standards are good for at least 40 years?


it,s sad to see her go but if it saves money from refitting it or replacing it then please lets spend the money on the fleet where it is needed like a replacement anti ship missile or something useful and not just wasted away on crap

John Clark

Its interesting that Brazil see a future for the ship, I would imagine it will need a huge amount of money spent on a service life extension and re – engine to get any sort of reliable useful service out of her for the next 10-15 years.

Mr Bell

Andy the money for refitting her £65 million was spent in 2015 to keep her in service until 2023. Make no doubt we are scrapping her early and loosing an important asset. We need a compact helicopter carrier to perform the LPH role. Using a QE strike carrier is not a viable solution for a whole host of tactical reasons. If we could retain her until 2023 that would provide enough time to get a replacement built. loosing Ocean does open up another capability gap and reduce the RN hull numbers by another ship. For the Brazillians they are getting… Read more »


She wouldn’t have made it to 2023 despite the “refit”. I was on her recently and she is hard work for the engineers. Yes She is going early and we are losing an asset but an asset that would have cost a small fortune to keep going, sucking up manpower and effort that would be better spent else where. She is a one of a kind vessel fitted with lots of civilian spec equipment that is old and obsolete and very difficult to find spares for. Keep her to 2023 until a new asset is built? Really? Have a reality… Read more »


Sshhh… Don’t talk the price down – we still have to palm her off on Brazil (oops, I mean give the Brazilians the deal of the century). Clearly what you meant to say is that she’s almost in brand new condition after the refit, should give the Brazilian Navy at least 50 years of trouble-free service, and that paying anything under £1bn for her would be the bargain of the century 🙂


I think she’s probably an absolute bargain compared to the money pit the Brazilians have now. It’s all relative.


Agreed just part of the accelerating (again) running down of the RN. No doubt Ocean was not built to last 40 years but media reports are deliberately manipulated to emphasis the challenge of keeping her running. Compare to Argus, which was also built to merchant ship standards and has served since 1988 and built in 1981. The reason for Ocean’s demise is a lack of manpower it is that simple.


Argus has the letter RFA in front Ocean has HMS.
They have been used in completely different ways on differing deployments and manned by Civvy and military crews respectively. There maintenance and overhaul cycles are completely different
The two are not comparable.

Nick Bowman

Maybe it’s time to dust-off the concept of a reserve fleet? We could mothball Ocean and the 23s as they decommission. The sale or scrap value of older warships is not particularly significant, and we need to free-up manpower for new ships. Still, the older ships would be very useful if a major conflict kicked-off. We make a great deal of the fact that it is in the nation’s “strategic interest” to be able to construct major warships in domestic yards, yet it is apparent that warships cannot be constructed at a pace sufficient to respond to a rapidly worsening… Read more »


They should have had a replacement for ocean years ago. Once again the British government have proven to be sea blind.