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HMS Ocean and Royal Navy Freedom Parade

HMS Ocean arrived on the River Wear on Thursday. Credit: ITV

More than 200 officers and ratings from Sunderland's adopted warship HMS Ocean are to parade through the city centre later today.

The freedom parade is part of a four-day visit by the Royal Navy's largest warship.

HMS Ocean and her crew were granted the Freedom of the City in 2004.

The parade's route is:

Burdon Road, into Fawcett Street, High Street West, Union Street, Market Square, Waterloo Place, Holmeside and returning into Burdon Road.

On Sunday 27 May, HMS Ocean is open to the public between 10am and 4pm at Corporation Quay, access for pedestrians via Low Street entrance. City centre and on-street parking is available.

Weekend celebrations begin

HMS Ocean arrived in Sunderland yesterday Credit: ITV News

HMS Ocean will begin her weekend of celebrations in Sunderland, when around 100 young people will get a true taste of life aboard the magnificent warship.

The Royal Marines Commando Recruitment Team will give participants the opportunity to try out core skills to see if they have what it takes to be part of the elite Royal Marines, in an action-packed ‘Meet the Marines’ event.

Activities will include unarmed combat, using a climbing wall and some rigorous physical training packages which the commandos use to hone and then maintain peak fitness.


HMS Ocean arrives in Sunderland

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.


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