The first mine countermeasures vessel from a bi-national project with Belgium was launched March 30. During the ceremony in Concarneau, France, shipbuilder Naval handed over the ship’s bell and nameplates from BNS Oostende to the Belgian navy.

The Ostend is the first of the 12 new mine countermeasures vessels that the Royal Netherlands Navy has purchased and developed together with Belgium. Both countries will receive 6. The current minehunters of both navies are approaching the end of their service life.

The construction of the second new Belgian mine fighter has also started. The keel of BNS Tournai was laid March 30.

According to Minister Kajsa Ollongren, not only the Netherlands and Belgium 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 explosive devices costing a few hundred euros have the potential to be disruptive.”