HMS Ocean took a brief break from her Olympic security training in London to host members of the public as the helicopter carrier opened her gangway. More than 3,500 people took advantage of the free opportunity to tour Britain’s biggest warship while he was moored in the Thames at Greenwich.
Amid her high-profile Olympic security exercise on the Thames, Britain’s biggest warship opened her gangway to the capital’s public – and drew more than 3,500 visitors.
Having arrived in Greenwich a couple of days before to a great media fanfare it was probably not surprising that so many people wanted to tour HMS Ocean when she opened to the public on May Bank Holiday.
Despite the typical bank holiday weather (cold and drizzle), it didn’t deter curious Londoners who took the short boat ride to the ship in the middle.
During their time onboard, the public were able to visit the flight deck, vehicle deck and hangar. All of the departments onboard had a display whilst Royal Navy and Army Air Corps Lynx were ranged on deck. One of the most popular items was face painting by HMS Ocean’s own Royal Marines from 9 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.
Cdr Jon Asbridge, HMS Ocean’s Commander Logistics, said:
“It was fantastic the number of people who visited the ship and we were proud to be able to show off the Royal Navy’s largest warship to London.
“Despite the poor Bank Holiday weather we had over 3500 visitors and everybody I spoke to really enjoyed their visit.”
The Mighty O is shortly to visit Sunderland, her affiliated city, from where 11 members of the ship’s company will race the ship back to Plymouth, cycling over 500 miles in five days.
The ride will raise money for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Grace House North East Children’s Hospice.
Several members of the team took advantage of the ship being open to visitors to do some training on their turbos in the hangar whilst asking for donations.
Over £500 was collected thanks to the generosity of the public with one of the intrepid team, Lt Paul Armstrong, pedalling throughout the eight hours the ship was open to visitors riding a 150 miles in total.
His ship is currently in London as part of a training exercise in advance of the Olympics. She returns again this summer in support of the 2012 Games, when she’ll be once again based at Greenwich acting as a base for Royal Navy and Army Air Corps helicopters enhancing the existing UK air security arrangements.
Ocean will also provide support to police maritime operations on the Thames and accommodation for military personnel based in London during the Games.
Naval Today Staff , May 10, 2012; Image: Royal Navy