Belgium buys used Dutch frigates
19 July 2005
BRUSSELS — The Belgian navy will buy two second-hand frigates from the Dutch military for EUR 250 million.
The vessels will replace the two existing Belgian frigates, the Westdiep and the Wielingen.
The ships are multifunctional frigates, classified as Karel Doorman Class FFGHM — known as the Rolls Royce of frigates.
Both ships were built in the mid-1990s at the Dutch wharf De Schelde, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, Defence Minister André Flahaut and military chief General August van Daele agreed on 7 July to initiate purchase negotiations.
The government is expected to officially announce the purchase after Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, the last before the summer recess.
In December 2002, the Belgian government commissioned the Antwerp wharf SKB to modernise the nation’s three frigates for a price of EUR 46.7 million.
In March 2005, the Wandelaar was sold to the Bulgarian navy for EUR 23 million after almost 30 years of service.
The Bulgarians also have an option on the two remaining Belgian frigates, which are slightly smaller than the Dutch vessels.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news