Royal Navy ship makes ‘emotional farewell’ trip to Sussex namesake town

WATCH: Lt Cdr Andrew Platt explains HMS Shoreham’s 20 years of mine hunting around the world.

A Royal Navy ship has made a final farewell visit to the Sussex town it was named after.

HMS Shoreham has taken part in a series of special public events in Shoreham-by-Sea, before it sails off to be decommissioned.

The commanding officer says they've had a fantastic response from local people, with 1,500 signing up for free tours of the minehunter.

Lieutenant Commander Andrew Platt told ITV News Meridian: “It’s a real honour to be able to bring Shoreham back to her home port for the final time.

“Some of the sailors on board have been with the ship for the last two or three years while she’s been deployed overseas and then brought her back to the UK.”

HMS Shoreham set sail from Clyde Naval Base, Faslane, last week on a short farewell tour around the UK. Credit: Royal Navy

“For me, as the commanding officer, HMS Shoreham was actually my first ship in the Royal Navy. Now to be decommissioning her as her final commanding officer is incredibly special – if a little bit sad – but at the same time it’s been an amazing journey,” Lt Cdr Platt added.

The ship’s company paraded in Shoreham town centre on Saturday (14 May) to return to the local council a scroll granting honorary freedom of the district.

There have been British military ships named after Shoreham since 1694. The current HMS Shoreham is the fifth to bear the name and was commissioned in July 2002.

Despite being routinely based at Clyde Naval Base in Faslane, on the west coast of Scotland, she has made several journeys to the south coast of England.

The ship has clocked up more than 120,000 nautical miles since entering service, mainly on mine detection operations in the Middle East. Her crew of 41 includes seven specialist divers, all focused on the clearance of hidden dangers in the sea.

This involves using sonar and other equipment to search for - and safely remove - Second World War mines.

Families were among the 1,500 people who booked free tours of HMS Shoreham during its final stopover in the Sussex town. Credit: ITV News Meridian

HMS Shoreham is due to set sail from its namesake town for the final time next week, before heading to Rosyth in Fife for decommissioning. The move is part of the Royal Navy’s increasing use of autonomous mine hunting technology.