Italian Navy decommissions two more Minerva-class corvettes

The Italian Navy retired two Minerva-class corvettes, ITS Fenice and ITS Sfinge, during a May 29 ceremony at the Augusta Naval Base.

The formal flag-lowering ceremony, attended by Italian Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Valter Girardelli and the Commander in Chief Admiral Donato Marzano, marked the end of almost 30 years of service for the corvettes.

With the decommissioning of Fenice and Sfinge, the Italian Navy’s Minerva-class of eight boats is now left with only two active vessels, ITS Driade and ITS Chimera.

ITS Fenice and ITS Sfinge will be recycled unlike their four predecessors which were sold to Bangladesh and now serve as Leader-class offshore patrol vessels with the Bangladesh Coast Guard.

In July 2015, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and Bangladesh Coast Guard signed the contract to upgrade and convert the corvettes into Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), and to provide the related logistics support services.

By decommissioning the ships, the Italian Navy is continuing its process of downsizing its ageing fleet. The navy also estimates the vessel count will decline by 65% within the next decade.