HMS Ocean on final visit to affiliated city

Royal Navy’s former flagship HMS Ocean paid one final visit to her affiliated city of Sunderland before it is paid off next spring.

HMS Ocean is leaving service as she is set to be replaced by the HMS Queen Elizabeth which took to sea this summer.

The ship will be paid off after she completes her final major operational duty this autumn when she leads a NATO task group in the Mediterranean.

During the visit to Sunderland, 240 sailors and Royal Marines marched through the heart of the city.

“Everyone in Sunderland has always been very proud of their links with HMS Ocean and it will sadden many knowing that her sailings are drawing to a close,” the city’s mayor, Cllr Doris MacKnight, told the massed ranks of military in front of her at the civic war memorial in Burdon Road, before the ship’s company began their circuit march around the centre behind the Band of HM Royal Marines.

HMS Ocean has been affiliated with the Royal Navy since 1997, but it was eight more years before civic leaders bestowed the Freedom of the City upon the ship and its sailors.

What happens to HMS Ocean once she leaves service remains to be seen. Brazilian newspapers rumored in March this year that HMS Ocean could be offered for sale to the Brazilian Navy.