UKHMS Ocean welcomed home after world wide deployment

Crowds of fam­i­lies and friends cheered home the crew of HMS Ocean this week­end when she arrived back at Devon­port, Ply­mouth, after a suc­cess­ful five-month deploy­ment.

HMS Ocean arrives back in Devonport after a successful five-month deployment
HMS Ocean arrives back in Devon­port after a suc­cess­ful five-month deploy­ment
Source: LA(Phot) Nico­la Wil­son, Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The jet­ty was packed with ban­ner-wav­ing fam­i­lies enter­tained by Her Majesty’s Roy­al Marine Band of Ply­mouth as the ship arrived.

First off the ship was Cap­tain Kei­th Blount, the ship’s com­mand­ing offi­cer, who was greet­ed by his fam­i­ly before prais­ing the fam­i­lies and his crew:

“It is fab­u­lous to be back. Won­der­ful to be home back in Ply­mouth after a great five-months away,” he said. “Now is the time for relax­ation for my ship’s com­pa­ny as they go off on well-deserved leave to spend time with their fam­i­lies and loved ones. The crew have been fan­tas­tic and have been very pro­fes­sion­al.

“The deploy­ment has been full of vari­ety and the sailors have respond­ed very well to all of the duties placed on them. HMS Ocean has shown what the Navy is trained for in a tremen­dous­ly high pro­file suc­cess­ful deploy­ment. The ship had to be re-con­fig­ured for each of the dif­fer­ent task­ings, includ­ing counter-drugs patrol, human­i­tar­i­an aid, defence diplo­ma­cy, joint exer­cis­es with coun­tries we have not vis­it­ed before.

“In fact HMS Ocean has packed in the full range of tasks a Roy­al Navy ship would per­haps be asked to do in a year — in only five months. I could not ask any more of my peo­ple.

“The key to their and our suc­cess is the sup­port of the fam­i­lies back home and they deserve all our thanks.”

Chief Pet­ty Offi­cer Mar­tin Dowse, of Cam­borne Corn­wall, runs the air­craft hangar on board. He was greet­ed by his over­joyed fam­i­ly on the jet­ty — wife Sarah, and chil­dren Imo­gen, five, and Noah, eight months. He hugged his son and said:

“It is great to be back home again and see my fam­i­ly. The last time I saw Noah when he was less than half his age now and I last saw pho­tos of him four months ago. He has grown a lot since then.

“The deploy­ment was very busy and full of vari­ety. The defence review announce­ment hap­pened while we were away and made us all a lit­tle wor­ried, but we will just have to wait and see what hap­pens.”

His wife said:

“The future is uncer­tain about the ship, but now we will be spend­ing pre­cious time togeth­er as a fam­i­ly. It was hec­tic Mar­tin being away with such a young fam­i­ly. Imo­gen has been count­ing down until daddy’s arrival from 67 ‘sleeps’ ago. She wants to go to the beach with her dad­dy and to have a bar­be­cue.”

Isha Jame­son, a cadet logis­tics offi­cer on board HMS Ocean, was wel­comed by her sis­ter Jila and broth­er Dan and cheer­ing moth­er Liz, wav­ing a flag of Toba­go from their coun­try of ori­gin. Jila said:

“It is great to have Isha back home again. She joined the ship in Brazil and had a good time though it was hard work, but she loves being at sea.”

Aman­da Christie, of Barn­sta­ple, wel­comed her hus­band Pet­ty Offi­cer Matthew Christie home with their young daugh­ter Lana who is five months old, and son Alex, aged six. Aman­da said:

“Luck­i­ly Matthew had pater­ni­ty leave at the begin­ning of the deploy­ment for Lana’s birth and then joined the ship for most of the deploy­ment. It is fan­tas­tic to have him home. He has found it espe­cial­ly dif­fi­cult with Lana so young, but she makes it a spe­cial home­com­ing for us all.”

The voy­age cov­ered 16,000-miles (25,750km) and four con­ti­nents dur­ing which the ship has con­duct­ed five amphibi­ous exer­cis­es with troops from five dif­fer­ent nations, two mar­itime secu­ri­ty patrols, pro­vid­ed train­ing for 300 marines and sailors from nine coun­tries.

On defence diplo­ma­cy duties the ship host­ed six inter­na­tion­al sem­i­nars for senior offi­cials, ran defence sales events for UK Trade and Invest­ment, and host­ed roy­al­ty, two pres­i­dents and numer­ous senior min­is­ters and mil­i­tary. Mean­while, away from the high pro­file events, Roy­al Naval sailors con­duct­ed four out-reach projects, which improved the lives of hun­dreds of chil­dren in three coun­tries.

Ocean returns for the ship’s com­pa­ny to spend some well earned time with their fam­i­lies and loved ones and to con­duct a main­te­nance peri­od along­side in Devon­port Naval Base and the ship will remain at short notice for oper­a­tions any­where in the world through­out.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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