The Russian Black Sea Fleet may not be fit for sea missions by 2015 because most of its warships have been in service for over 30 years, according to a Russian newspaper.

Gazeta said the crews will try to keep their ships in decent condition until the last moment, but the iron used on the vessels had reached the end of its service life.

The Black Sea Fleet is to decommission the Ochakov destroyer and a diesel submarine built in 1982, which will then be followed by the Kerch destroyer and several large support ships.

A Navy official said the only solution for the looming crisis would be the construction of at least a dozen of Project 20380 corvettes that were designed to protect Russia’s coastal waters and oil and gas sea transportation routes, especially in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.

In October 2008, the first Project 20380 corvette, the Steregushchy, was inducted into the Russian Baltic Fleet and the second, the Soobrazitelny, was floated out on 31 March while two other ships – the Boyky and the Stoyky – of the same series are currently under construction.