HMS Ocean returns to Sunderland

Tue, 01 May 2012

A city centre Freedom Parade is to be held to mark HMS Ocean's return to Sunderland. The parade is part of a four-day visit by Sunderland's adopted warship at the end of May.

Saturday 26 May, afternoon - time to be confirmed
HMS Ocean crew city centre Freedom Parade
Starting from the Civic Centre, Burdon Road. Led by The Band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, more than 200 members of her crew are expected to parade through the city centre.

Sunday 27 May, 10.00am to 4.00pm
HMS Ocean will be open to visitors
All ages will be welcomed aboard the ship for guided tours. Meet the crew and explore the ship. There will also be a number of jetty attractions.

Corporation Quay, West Gate
Admission is free
Please note: Hand luggage will be searched before you board. Access to the port will be for pedestrians only. Low Street will be closed to traffic except to resident permit holders.

HMS Ocean and her crew were granted the Freedom of the City in 2004 and she last visited in September 2009.

She saw active service off the coast of Libya last year when she was a platform for Apache attack helicopters.

She is due to dock at the Port of Sunderland's Corporation Quay on Thursday 24 May
When HMS Ocean sails on Monday 28 May, a group of sailors and marines will be racing the ship back to Plymouth on their bikes in order to raise money for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Grace House North East Children's Hospice.

This will be the ship's seventh visit to Sunderland and during the London 2012 Olympic Games, she will be moored in Greenwich to provide logistics support, accommodation and a helicopter landing site.

Captain Andrew Betton, Commanding Officer of HMS Ocean said: "HMS Ocean has always cherished her links with the people of Sunderland and everybody on board is genuinely thrilled about bringing the ship home to her affiliated city.

"The opportunity of exercising our Freedom of the City and then opening our doors to the people of Sunderland to show them this unique ship will make this a truly memorable visit."

Last year she spent 176 of the 229 days she was away from the UK at sea and steaming 40,000 miles in that time.

The ship was rewarded for her hard work in 2011 by being awarded the Royal Navy's effectiveness trophy for the second year running.

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