The first mine countermeasures vessel from a binational project with Belgium has been launched today. During the ceremony in the French Concarneau, Naval handed over the ship’s Bell and the nameplates of BNS Oostende to the Belgian Navy.
The Ostend is the first of 12 new mine countermeasures vessels that the Royal Navy has acquired and developed together with Belgium. Both countries get 6. The current Minehunters of both navies are nearing the end of their service lives.
The construction of the second new Belgian minesweeper has also begun. The keel of BNS Tournai was laid today.
According to minister Kajsa Ollongren, it is not only the Netherlands and Belgium that will benefit from the brand new mine fighters. “Safe, freely accessible seas and waterways are vital for a strong and prosperous Europe. The use of sea mines is alive and well. Old mines and bombs from the world wars and improvised explosives of a few hundred euros have the potential to be disruptive.”