Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo took a brief break from Mediterranean Sea operations to represent Great Britain in Monaco.
Home to the world’s most famous casino and grand prix, the tiny nation (two square kilometres – smaller than Echo’s home base of Devonport) is also the seat of the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO), charged with ensuring all the world’s seas, oceans and navigable waterways are surveyed and charted.
Surrounded by suparyachts, HMS Echo represented the UK at the inaugural IHO general assembly meeting.
“In a harbour full of gleaming billionaires’ toys and super yachts, the plain grey and unique, functional chic of HMS Echo looked even more distinctive, easily stealing the attention and interest of the public, locals and visitors alike,” said Lt David Elsey, the ship’s logistics officer.
“Despite some eye-wateringly-expensive company, the specially designed, cutting edge survey ship Echo, had no problem holding her own in terms of price tag.”
During the 36-hour ‘pit stop’, Echo provided the backdrop for Britain’s presence at the get together, culminating with the hosting of an official reception aboard on behalf of the UK National Hydrographer, Rear Admiral Tim Lowe, attended by more than 100 guests and delegates representing 36 different countries from Argentina to Japan.
The following day, most of the ship’s company were able to get out and explore the principality, heading back to key sights visited including the casino, yacht club, oceanographic museum and the Formula One racetrack.
On completion of the visit, Echo resumed her mission with the European Union Naval Force Mediterranean task group on Operation Sophia, preventing the illegal trafficking of people from Africa to Europe.