UK: HMS Ocean Returns to London to Ensure Security at Olympic Games
The helicopter carrier HMS Ocean will sail up the River Thames to berth at Greenwich on Friday evening (July 13) and will be open to visit by the public on Sunday (July 15) – a unique opportunity to tour the largest ship in the Royal Navy Fleet.
After training exercises in May, HMS Ocean has returned to London in readiness for playing a key role supporting the police in providing security to the Olympic Games. She will be berthed at Greenwich until after the Paralympics and will act as a helicopter landing platform and logistics hub in support of maritime and air security operations.
She will also accommodate 400 military personnel who will be part of the venue security force for nearby Greenwich Park.
When Ocean last visited London in May to prepare for her Olympic tasking, thousands of people from local communities got the chance to take a short tour of the ship, while she was berthed off Greenwich.
Now Captain Andrew Betton, HMS Ocean’s Commanding Officer, is pleased to be able to offer another opportunity for the public to venture aboard this weekend, when the massive warship opens her gangways to the general public.
Captain Betton said:
“I know the ship’s company are very much looking forward to returning to London, after a warm welcome in May. As we are expecting a large turnout of people on the Sunday, you would be best advised to get there early and expect to queue – while we will do our best to get you on board, we can offer no guarantees.”
An amphibious assault ship, HMS Ocean is designed to deliver Royal Marines commandos to the centre of the action by helicopter or by landing craft – there are six helicopter operating spots on the flight deck and the hangar can hold many more aircraft.
The ship also has an assault squadron embarked, 9 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, and carries four landing craft, capable of landing troops or a Land Rover-sized vehicle ashore.
HMS Ocean played a key role in support of the UN Security Council Resolution in Libya last year, acting as the base for the Army’s Apache attack helicopters and Royal Navy’s Sea King surveillance helicopters.
The Apache helicopters flying from HMS Ocean complemented the RAF jets, delivering additional precision strike capability with considerable success. Over the course of the operation, the Apache crews from 656 Squadron Army Air Corps attacked Libyan military vehicles, installations and communications equipment.
Built on the Clyde by Kvaerner Govan, the ship was launched in October 1995, and named by Her Majesty the Queen on February 20 1998. HMS Ocean was commissioned into the Fleet in September 1998.
Naval Today Staff, July 13, 2012; Image: RN