Getting underway from Naval Base Plymouth on Tuesday, helicopter carrier HMS Ocean started her final deployment as a commissioned Royal Navy ship.
The fleet flagship – a role that will be taken by the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth – will be joining NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 in the Mediterranean as flagship.
HMS Ocean and her crew are expected to return home in December.
Currently the Royal Navy’s sole helicopter carrier, Ocean is set to be decommissioned next year and her role will be taken up by the HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Commissioned in October 1995, the 202-meter long HMS Ocean replaced HMS Bulwark as fleet flagship in June 2015. In her role as a helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship, Ocean is designed to deliver troops by helicopter or by landing craft.
After her decommissioning was announced, Brazilian media reports rumored the HMS Ocean could be sold to the Brazilian Navy for a “reasonable price”.
The UK defense ministry earlier said that ‘a number of options’ were still in play regarding the future of HMS Ocean adding that it was too early to talk about specifics.