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2nd Mistral for Russia Ends First Sea Trial

2nd Mistral for Russia Ends First Sea Trial

PARIS — The Sevastopol, the second of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers built for Russia, returned to harbor Friday after a first sea trial, a spokesman for prime contractor DCNS said.

The next sea trial is due in a few weeks and will last a week, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, on the first ship, the Vladivostok, DCNS and subcontractor STX France bear the monthly cost of some €2.5 million (US $2.7 million) to cover security, maintenance and harbor fees, specialist website Mer et Marine and regional paper Le Télégramme reported. DCNS declined to comment.

DCNS and STX staff sailed the Sevastopol out of the Saint-Nazaire shipyard on Monday when the trial started, a DCNS spokesman said. Some 200 company personnel crewed the sailing, which tested the ship and onboard systems at sea. That number of crew allows three shifts of eight hours.

The next sailing is due in mid-April, a source said. France is due to hand over the Sevastopol in the last quarter of 2015.

On Nov. 25, the French government suspended the delivery of the Vladivostok, which had been due for an official handover on Nov. 14 to the Russian authorities. The suspension was due to the continuing conflict in east Ukraine.

France had set two conditions for delivery: that the cease-fire in Ukraine be observed and Kiev and Moscow reach a political settlement.

In 2011, Paris sold the two vessels to Moscow for €1.2 billion, despite deep concern among the Baltic nations and allies in central Europe and the US.

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