HMS Ocean sailed from Plymouth on Saturday (5th July) for the first time since October 2012, after undergoing a major refit in her base-port at Devonport, Plymouth.
The £65 million refit has improved her ability to carry out her main role as an amphibious helicopter carrier (landing platform helicopter) acting as part of a task group or launching raids by the Royal Marines by helicopter and landing craft.
The same equipment also improves her ability to deliver humanitarian aid or, if required, support the evacuation of British citizens from crises around the world.
The ship will now undergo a demanding and rigorous trials and training programme that will test the ship and crew in all their roles.
For a fifth of the 380 sailors and Royal Marines onboard this will be their first experience of life at sea.
Captain Tim Henry, the Commanding Officer of HMS Ocean, said:
“Today is the culmination of a considerable amount of hard work by my Ship’s Company and those supporting us in getting to sea.
“The unique nature of Ocean makes it more challenging to prepare for this day given that we have no other ship on which to train.
“As the Naval Service, Defence and the Nation’s eyes turn to Rosyth for the naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth, we are one significant step closer to HMS Ocean assuming the role of the Nation’s very high readiness Helicopter Carrier.”
Press Release, July 07, 2014; Image: UK Navy