HMS Echo Becomes First Royal Navy Vessel in ‘The Gateway of India’

HMS Echo Becomes First Royal Navy Vessel in The Gateway of India€™

Survey ship HMS Echo became the first Royal Navy vessel in ‘the gateway of India’ in five years when she sailed into the metropolis that is Mumbai.

It allowed a change of some crew (the ship regularly rotates around one third of her sailors to sustain her mission away from the UK) and a chance to sample one of the great cities of the world.

As befits Mumbai’s status it is one of the Indian Navy’s principal naval bases and it fell to the crew of the guided missile frigate INS Godavari – similar in size to the UK’s Type 23 frigates – to host Echo throughout her week in Mumbai.

The visit provided the opportunity to meet senior Indian Naval staff, festively ‘dress ship’ with colourful flags from bow to stern to mark an Indian national holiday, and host and attend official receptions allowing sailors from both navies and their families to mix.

The two ship’s companies also enjoyed tours of each other’s vessel; Echo’s hydrographers proudly showcased the ship’s state-of-the-art survey suite to their counterparts from the Indian Navy.

A group from Echo’s crew were hosted onboard Godavari and enjoyed a fascinating tour and delicious Indian buffet whilst berthed adjacent to INS Viraat – perhaps better known to Britons as HMS Hermes.

HMS Echo’s football team played against their hosts, narrowly losing a hard-fought and competitive game 4-2. PO Andy Gillson said,

I took a great free kick to try to get Echo back in the game. I’m just disappointed that the manager kept me on the bench for too long, otherwise I may have been able to salvage the game for the team.”

Which isn’t a million mile away from a post-match interview on Match of the Day…

When not in Mumbai or playing football, Echo’s been rather busy for the 16 months she’s been deployed from Devonport for, gathering hydrographic data, surveying the waters east of Suez and supporting the wider international naval effort of maritime security operations and anti-piracy work.

Echo will continue her high tempo of operations until late summer when she will hand over the survey baton to her sister ship HMS Enterprise, whereupon she’ll return to the UK for an extended period of maintenance and regeneration for future worldwide tasking.

Naval Today Staff , April 30, 2012; Image: royalnavy