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Romania acquires two ex-Royal Navy Sandown-class minehunters

The Royal Navy's former Sandown-class minehunter, ex-HMS Blyth, is pictured during its decommissioning ceremony on 4 August 2021. The vessel was transferred to the Romanian Navy in September 2023. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has sold two second-hand Royal Navy (RN) Sandown-class minehunters to the Romanian Navy to support maritime security operations in the Black Sea region.

In a 28 September announcement, the MoD confirmed the sale of ex-HMS Blyth , which was decommissioned from RN service in 2021, and HMS Pembroke , which will be retired from service in early 2024.

Ex- Blyth was officially transferred to the Romanian Navy during September, while Pembroke will be transferred in the second quarter of 2024, the MoD said.

The Romanian parliament approved a programme to procure and modernise two second-hand Sandown-class minehunters from the UK on 18 May. Blyth and Pembroke were subsequently sold on behalf of the MoD by the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA), part of the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support organisation, for an undisclosed amount.

Ahead of their transfers, the vessels are being refurbished by UK shipbuilder Babcock at its facilities in Rosyth, Scotland.

The RN, meanwhile, will provide individual maintenance and training support via Navy International Defence Training, while collective training will be provided via Fleet Operational Sea Training.

Blyth and Pembroke are the latest Sandown-class minehunters to be sold by the UK as it works to progressively decommission the class by 2025. Of an original class of 12, the sale will leave just two remaining vessels in service: HMS Penzance and HMS Bangor.

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