Royal Navy warship at Belfast Lough

Published Saturday, 26 July 2014
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The Royal Navy's latest hi-tech warship - HMS Duncan - is at Belfast Lough for the first visit to her twinned city.

Royal Navy warship at Belfast Lough
Commander James Stride pictured with HMS Duncan. (© Samuel Severn)

The ship sailed into the city on Saturday morning and over the weekend the crew will undertake a series of official engagements including some work with their nominated charity - Northern Ireland Children's Hospice.

The gangplank will be down on Sunday between 12pm and 5pm for the public.

"This is our first visit to our adopted city and it is fitting that it is one of our first destinations since being formally accepted into the Fleet," said Commander James Stride, HMS Duncan's Commanding Officer.

"She has now proved herself at sea and is operating alongside her other five sisters.

"I am hugely proud to be the first Commanding Officer to bring her to Belfast. My ship's company and I feel extremely privileged to be affiliated to such an historic maritime city, and we are also particularly looking forward to welcoming visitors on board during our visit - especially when the ship opens to the public on Sunday."

Len O'Hagan, chairman of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, said the partnership "is great for promoting Belfast".

"It's also great in terms of attracting other vessels to the harbour and to make the harbour really come to life both as a commercial port but also as a place the Royal Navy feels comfortable coming to and that also of course helps many of our industries here who are serving the armed forces," he said.

"It just adds to what Belfast Harbour has been trying to do for many years, to attract as many naval vessels as possible, but HMS Duncan is the pride of the fleet, the most modern, and for it to be in partnership with Belfast, as it serves around the world is terrific for the city.

Destroyers are part of the backbone of the Royal Navy, committed around the world 365 days a year hunting pirates, drug runners or submarines, defending the Fleet from air attack and providing humanitarian aid after natural disasters. HMS Duncan's sister, HMS Daring, has recently been involved in relief operations in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.

HMS Duncan is the sixth and last of Britain's six Type 45 destroyers which are the most advanced warships the nation has ever built. Their mission is to shield the Fleet from air attack using the state-of-the-art Sea Viper missile system.

The Type 45s can also be used as general-purpose warships; they have huge flight decks to accommodate helicopters up to the size of a Chinook.

There is enough space on board to host a Royal Marines detachment up to 60-men strong.

Free tickets to visit the ship are available from the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre at Donegall Square North.

Access is only available through coaches which are being laid on to transfer families and visitors from Chichester Street.

The ship will then leave Belfast on Tuesday morning.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Steve in County Down wrote (185 days ago):
An excellent piece of British engineering.
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