Royal Navy flagship makes a rare stop in Beirut

HMS Ocean arriving in Beirut. Photo: UK Embassy Lebanon

Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean visited Beirut en route home, becoming the first Royal Navy vessel in five years to visit the Lebanese capital.

The helicopter carrier arrived in Lebanon on March 4 having concluded a six-month deployment in the Middle East.

Ocean’s captain, Capt Rob Pedre, was joined by Rear Admiral Alex Burton, Commander UK Maritime Forces, in hosting a broad spread of events: ship tours for approximately 200 people; practical leadership tasks for a group of school children; the obligatory rugby game with a local side, which the ship won by 43- 19.

That ceremony brought the curtain down on an official reception and capability demonstration on behalf of the UK’s Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter, for 400 local officials and businessmen and a lunch for the Head of the Lebanese Armed Forces, General Jean Kahwaji.

The visit was supported by several British firms and the highlight for most of the ship’s company was the arrival of the Aston Martin DB11 on the jetty.

After six months away, the last three of them east of Suez in command of a US carrier task group, Ocean is due home in Devonport before the end of the month.

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