Upwards of 1½ million people saw HMS St Albans as the Portsmouth warship took part in the world’s largest harbour festival. The frigate sailed up the Elbe to Hamburg to take part in the 823rd ‘birthday’ of the great port.
The Type 23 frigate visited the great Hanseatic port as part of strengthening international relations and also to help Germany celebrate the 823rd anniversary of Hamburg harbour – a birthday marked each year by a river festival.
During the long passage down the Elbe river, she took part in the Teufelsbrück Parade where she lined up as ship number 49 out of 91 visiting vessels.
For the Hafengeburtstag (‘harbour birthday’) festival, she was accompanied by a host of international warships, including the brand-new Indian frigate Teg on her maiden voyage, a French ocean tug Tenace and two Danish patrol boats.
The Deutsche Marine was represented by the submarine U34, fast patrol boat Zobel, minesweeper Pegnitz and the frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
An estimated one and a half million people flocked to the banks of the Elbe for the three-day festival.
The Saint’s ship’s company were involved in many events, including official receptions on the German and Indian frigates, international shooting and football competitions and visits to the maritime museum and Thyssen Krupp ship yard.
HMS St Albans hosted a number of visits and enjoyed pride of place beneath a spectacular firework display on Saturday night.
The frigate’s football team played an international five-a-side tournament against teams from Russia, France, India, Poland and Germany.
The matches were very competitive and resulted in St Albans winning the tournament with a penalty shoot out against the Germans (yes, that surprised us as well…).
AB(Sea) John Bayne said:
“Both St Albans’ teams were highly-impressed by how organised and well-run the tournament had been and would like to say thank you to the organisers and all teams who participated.
“It was a hugely enjoyable day and one we would definitely look forward to again in the future.”
HMS St Albans shooting team were equally successful, taking sixth, fourth, second and first places against international opposition which included French, Russian, Norwegian and German competitors.
St Albans visited Hamburg on the back of a stop in Reykjavik for an informal visit to strengthen ties with Iceland.
During the visit she hosted an official reception and capability demonstration, opened the ship to visitors and took part in an act of remembrance in Hvalsfordur to mark the 70th anniversary of the high point of the Arctic convoys to the USSR in World War 2.
Naval Today Staff , May 17, 2012; Image: Royal Navy