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Military may scrap new minesweepers

The Norwegian military is considering scraping two new minesweepers in order to save money, but according to an internal report it costs more to scrap them than to keep them.

According to a report from the management at Haakonsvern, it will cost between NOK 10 to 14 million (USD 1.56 to 2.18 million) to dispose of the two ships. For that amount, the two ships can be in operation for about 10 years.

The price per ship was between NOK 350 and 400 million (USD 54.5 and 62.3 million) when they were built in 1997. They have hardly been used at all.

Effective ships
Stortinget decided in June of this year that Norway could manage with six minesweepers instead of the eight the military has today. However, the issue has now created a new debate.

The ships were controversial when they were built, but because of the advanced equipment and the ability to move fast, they proved to be very effective when it come to destroying mines. NATO was reportedly impressed by the Norwegian ships.

«The minesweeper capacity is low and has been sought after by NATO,» said Commander sg Per Kartvedt, Commander Mine Countermeasures Force Northern Europe (DESIG), to TV 2 Nyhetene.

Controversial decision
The decision to scrap the two ships is controversial in the Royal Navy, and according to information provided TV 2 Nyhetene, there have been heated discussions regarding the future of the two ships. Several high ranking officers want the ships to be taken out of active service and stored so that they can be used as reserve ships if necessary. But the military administration wants to scrap the ships or used them for parts.

The ships are reportedly hard to sell because they are so technically advanced that they demand an extensive and specialized staff.

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