One of the Fourteen built Type 22 Class frigates for the Royal Navy entered Grand Harbour, Malta on Sunday 19th September at 0952 hrs as ROS REGINA MARIA F 222 with the Romanian Navy.
Originally as HMS LONDON F 95 (ex-BLOODHOUND) she was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Limited (YSL) in Glasgow, Scotland. She was ordered on 23rd February 1982, laid down on 7th February 1983, launched on 27th October 1984 and commissioned in the Royal Navy on 5th June 1987 with an estimated building cost of £159M.
On the 14th January, 1999 she was decommissioned from the Royal Navy and was sold to Romania Navy together with the former HMS COVENTRY F 98 on 14th January, 2003. Both frigates are from Batch 2 and in 1991 she was flagship of the Royal Navy task force during the First Gulf War.
Currently deployed on the NATO Operation SEA GUARDIAN she berthed at Pinto 3 Wharf, part of Valletta Cruise Port. An interesting Naval version IAR 330 Puma Helicopter was embarked with serial ‘142’ of the Grupul 256 Elicoptere ‘Black Sea Knights’ based at Tuzla, Constanta.
Before the sale the Sea Wolf and Exocet missile systems were removed, and the only armament the ship had when delivered was two 30mm BMARC cannons and two three-tube ASW torpedo launchers. The Romanian Navy had a 76mm Oto-Melara gun system fitted forward where the Exocets had been mounted, but no missile systems, or additional weapons have been fitted. There has since been some controversy over the price at which Romania purchased the ship.
On Tuesday 21 st September which happens to be Independence Day at Malta she left Grand Harbour assisted by tugs SENGLEA and WENZINA at 0909 hrs of which she did a PASSEX with Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) offshore patrol vessel (OPV) P 62.
Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Wednesday 22nd September, 2021