The British monarch Queen Elizabeth II has rededicated the UK Royal Navy’s amphibious assault ship and helicopter carrier HMS Ocean back into the Royal Navy service in HM Naval Base Devonport, Plymouth.
The Queen has been the sponsor of the Royal Navy’s only landing platform helicopter carrier’s since its commissioning and official naming ceremony in 1998.
HMS Ocean second-in-command commander Tony Rackham said: "The culmination of years’ of preparation of the ship from refit to getting ready for sea and operations and then rehearsing for our Royal sponsor. It can’t get any better than this. It’s real reward for all our hard work."
The warship had successfully completed a month-long £65m refit of its weaponry, internal systems and living quarters as well as conducted sea trials and training in August 2014.
Refurbishment work was carried out by Babcock, as part of a contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in December 2012.
In June this year, HMS Ocean will assume duties as the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship. The warship will now sail to participate in the Exercise Joint Warrior off the North West coast of Scotland.
Powered by two Crossley Pielstick 16 PC2.6 V 200 medium-speed diesel engines, HMS Ocean can cruise at a maximum speed of 16k, and has a range of 8,000 miles.
The 203m-long warship, which is designed to accommodate approximately 1,100 people, is capable of operating 12 EH101 Merlin and six Lynx helicopters, and has landing and refuelling facilities for Chinook helicopters.
As well as participating in the Libya mission, HMS Ocean has supported various military missions since its deployment with the Royal Navy including humanitarian and disaster relief missions.
During the London 2012 Olympics games, the BAE Systems-built HMS Ocean provided military support to ensure safety and security.
Image: Rededication ceremony held at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport to officially welcome the HMS Ocean back in to the fleet after a multi-million pound refit. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.