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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Two minesweepers that arrived here on temporary rotation last summer will make a permanent home in Sasebo, the U.S. Navy announced Wednesday.

The USS Avenger and USS Defender, both from San Diego, will remain here after a review found it would be better to keep the two minesweepers in Sasebo rather than regularly rotate ships in from the United States, the Navy said.

Both ships had been in Sasebo for about six months and will join the base’s two other forward-deployed mine ships, the USS Patriot and the USS Guardian.

The change was not due to recent tensions in the region, including missile launches by North Korea, according to Navy spokesman Charles Howard.

“Their transition increases the availability of mine countermeasure capability in the Western Pacific region, eliminating transit and logistic constraints associated with periodic deployment to the Western Pacific from San Diego,” a Navy news release said.

More than 160 sailors and four civilians crew the two ships. They will be joined by family members, but the Navy said it is still uncertain how many will transfer from San Diego.

Howard said the new residents can be accommodated and will not strain services on the Navy base.


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