The Royal Navy's largest warship has berthed on the River Wear.
HMS Ocean entered the River Wear at just before 6am. Through the morning mist the 208m long, 22,500 tonne ship edged its way between the piers into the mouth of the river guided by 4 tug boats.
HMS Ocean is the Royal Navy's largest warship and so there is always a challenge manoeuvring the ship in tight navigational waters. We are well versed in this and have recently transited the Thames Barrier, which was a tight squeeze. With the planning and liaison that we have undertaken with the Port of Sunderland authorities, I am confident that everything is in place ready for us to enter the harbour safely
– Captain Andrew Betton, HMS Ocean's Commanding Officer
Two pilots boarded the ship at 5.30 am to guide her into port. She was nudged into the quayside by the four Svitzer tugs and a squad from the Sunderland Foyboatmen's Association fastened her to the quayside bollards.
The safe navigation of HMS Ocean within the port is of paramount importance and entails a huge team effort involving port personnel and supporting marine services. Nothing has been left to chance. A great deal of pre-planning goes into an operation such as this and we have been liaising with the Royal Navy at every step of the way.
– Captain Kevin Ullah, Harbour Master
The ship is now docked at Corporation Quay, opposite the National Glass Centre. HMS Ocean will spend four days berthed in her adopted City. On Saturday more than 200 officers and crew with mark their Freedom of the City with a parade through Sunderland.
The Royal Navy's largest warship has just berthed at the Port of Sunderland. HMS Ocean will spend four days in her adopted city. Over the weekend two hundred officers and crew will parade through the city centre as they are granted the Freedom of Sunderland.