Plymouth-based survey ship HMS Echo has visited the second smallest country on the planet for a gathering of the world’s leading ocean experts.
Echo was invited to Monaco to take part in the fifth International Hydrographic Conference to support the UK Hydrographic Office – on whose behalf the ship roams the oceans gathering data for updating the charts used by the majority of the world’s mariners.
Her sailors shared those experiences, as well as detailing HMS Echo’s role in the international hunt for the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 in the southeast Indian Ocean.
More than 100 people – both military and civilian – from 66 nations, including China, Russia, India and Korea, were invited on board for demonstrations and an official reception.
Also coming on board Echo, which was berthed at Port Hercule on Esplanade des Pêcheurs, more typically used by cruise ships, were members of the British ex-pat community and Royal British Legion who have relocated to the French Riviera.
Despite the busy programme sailors were able to get off the ship to sample Monaco, which rarely receives visits from Royal Navy vessels.
Other Echo sailors hit the Monaco Grand Prix circuit – not in race cars but on foot as they ran the challenging 3.3-kilometre circuit, enjoying a view of the track they’d previously only seen watching Formula 1 cars on TV.
Echo will now resume her survey work in the Mediterranean for the final few weeks of a 16-month deployment which sees her return to Plymouth in late November.
Press Release, October 10, 2014; Image: UK Navy