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Cutting minehunters would be disastrous for freedom of seas

More speculation about the outcome of SDSR but this in the Portsmouth News today:

Cutting minehunters would be disastrous for freedom of seas
Pompey News 6 Oct 2010 said:
Cuts to the Royal Navy's minehunting fleet risk lowering Britain's standing in the world, a defence expert has warned...

The navy has 16 mine countermeasures ships. But Whitehall sources have indicated these could be trimmed back to potentially devastating effect in the Strategic Defence and Security Review...

Just as a reminder, the RN dealt with Albanian mines in the Corfu Channel in 1946, Egyptian mines off Port Said and in the Suez Canal in 1956, Israeli and Egyptian ordnance in the Suez Canal in 1974, Argentinean mines off Port Stanley in 1982, Libyan mines in the Red Sea in 1985, Iranian mines in the Gulf of Oman in 1987 and Iraqi mines in the Northern Arabian Gulf in 1991 and 2003. It continues to deal with the legacy of the 935,000 mines laid during World Wars I and II on an almost daily basis. 119 Ton Class MCM vessels were built for the RN after WWII but we are now down to 8 of the original 13 Hunts and 8 of the original 12 Sandowns, another of which (HMS Walney) has already been earmarked for disposal. We have had two Hunts and two Sandowns based in the Gulf for the past four years.
 
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