Sunderland's adopted ship HMS Ocean sold to Brazil in £84million deal - report

HMS Ocean leaves Sunderland for the last time
HMS Ocean leaves Sunderland for the last time

Sunderland's adopted warship has reportedly been sold to Brazil.

The South American country's navy released an end of year statement saying it had agreed an £84million deal to purchase HMS Ocean - though the Ministry of Defence says talks are still ongoing over a possible sale.

The Brazilian Navy's statement, released on Christmas Eve, says: "Minister Raul Jungmann and the Brazilian Navy Commander Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira took the opportunity to announce the purchase of the Royal Navy's HMS Ocean multifunction vessel, valued at £84m sterling."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed talks were ongoing but denied a final deal had been reached: "Discussions with Brazil over the long-planned sale of HMS Ocean are at an advanced stage, but no final decisions have been made," he said.

"HMS Ocean has served admirably with us since 1998 and the revenue she generates will be reinvested in defence as we bolster our Royal Navy with two types of brand new frigates and two huge aircraft carriers."

The Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship has been affiliated with Sunderland throughout her 20 years of service and the Freedom of the City was bestowed upon the ship and her crew in 2004.

She is to be decommissioned in the spring and be replaced by £3.5billion supership HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Ocean visited Wearside for the last time in July, when scores of people turned out to welcome her into the Port of Sunderland and more than 240 officers and ratings from the Ship’s Company marched through the city centre, accompanied by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.

Visitors lined the dock in Sunderland to say goodbye to as she set sail from the city for the final time.

Joining the crew on board were family members along with a party from Sunderland City Council, which included Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Doris MacKnight, who told the crew how proud the city was of them and its links to HMS Ocean.

Sunderland City Council deputy leader Coun Harry Trueman revealed in September that talks were under way with the Navy about the possibility of a new adopted ship for Sunderland.

"Discussions have taken place with the Royal Navy, who have acknowledged they will be considering an alternative affiliation for Sunderland following the decommissioning of HMS Ocean,” said Coun Trueman.

“We will progress discussions in 2018 and continue to work with the Naval Regional Command to maintain our excellent affiliation with the Royal Navy.”