Shipping & Shipbuilding News -  27 April 2007 - The Brightest Maritime Daily


HMS SANDOWN handed over to Estonian Navy
Babcock delivers the ENS ADMIRAL COWAN at Rosyth

Babcock Engineering Services joined forces with the MoD yesterday (Thursday) to hand over HMS SANDOWN, a Royal Navy mine single role counter measures vessel, to the Estonian Navy.

At a ceremony in Rosyth, the ship was officially received by the Estonian Ministry of Defence's Deputy Under-Secretary for Defence Investments, Mr Martin Hunt. The ship is the first of three Sandown Class Minehunters which have been sold by to Estonia under an agreement signed on 14 September 2006.

Sandown was regenerated for Estonian military use by Babcock Engineering Services, and renamed ENS ADMIRAL COWAN. The multi million pound programme took 6 months and involved 100 workers at the Rosyth yard. Babcock Engineering Services will also do the work on HMS Inverness, due to commerce in Rosyth in July. HMS Bridport (the third ship) will be regenerated by FSL (Fleet Support Ltd) early 2008.

The ships are Estonia's most significant defence purchase since joining NATO, and will enhance Estonia's naval capabilities - to reduce the number of mines and other ordnance left during both World War off the coast of Estonia, and also improve Estonia's contribution to NATO exercises and operations. The name Admiral Cowan was chosen in honour of Admiral Walter 'Tich' Cowan, who commanded the British cruiser squadron which fought alongside Estonian forces in the Battle for independence 1919.

Managing Director of Babcock Engineering Services, Archie Bethel said: "Once again, Babcock Engineering Services has performed well. I pay tribute to the dedication and professionalism of all those who have worked on the project, and ensured the ship is ready in time.

"Babcock is proud to play its part in helping the MoD, Estonia and other NATO countries develop their capabilities for global operations."

Martin Hunt, Deputy Under-Secretary added: "It is an honour to receive ENS ADMIRAL COWAN in Scotland today, and Estonia welcomes the continuing partnership with the UK, as a close NATO friend. All three ships represent a significant purchase for the Estonian Navy and we look forward to using them to improve our military capabilities and mine clearance operations.

"ENS ADMIRAL COWAN's crew have enjoyed their time in Scotland, and will have fond memories of the Fife hospitality."

HMS SANDOWN's regeneration package includes the refurbishment of all main systems and equipment including sonar and the ship's main propulsion equipment. The ship has also received some capability updates to assist her future mine clearance operations in Estonia. The ship's accommodation and galley has been refurbished and the whole ship has been painted in the Estonian naval colours. The Flagship are providing training for the Estonian Crew in conjunction with Royal Navy. The ship will arrive back in Estonia in July 2007.


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