HMS Echo in Portsmouth (Picture: Royal Navy).

HMS Echo says farewell after two decades of discovery

Twenty years as a survey ship for the Senior Service have come to an end for HMS Echo in Portsmouth.

HMS Echo in Portsmouth (Picture: Royal Navy).

HMS Echo's 20-year career as a Royal Navy survey ship has formally ended, marked with a decommissioning ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base where the journey began.

The first of two Echo-class survey ships alongside HMS Enterprise, the 5,000-tonne vessel was designed for global hydrographic and oceanographic missions.

Although she commissioned in Portsmouth, HMS Echo was based at Devonport Naval Base and over the past two decades has been deployed far and wide.

Off the Yemen coast around 2010, she discovered an uncharted sea mountain and found the wreck of a Second World War cargo ship near Libya on the same two-year voyage.

Crew also helped create superior images of the Firth of Clyde and took 3-D images of Second World War aircraft carrier HMS Dasher, which sank off the Ayrshire coast.

The decommissioning ceremony for HMS Echo in Portsmouth, where the ship first entered the Navy (Picture: Royal Navy).

Echo recently deployed to the Baltic and Arctic in search of the wreck of a sunken Second World War cruiser, and holding a service of remembrance over the wreck of another – HMS Edinburgh.

Bidding farewell to HMS Echo, the Navy welcomed in a new, more autonomous approach to its role.

Under the Future Military Data Gathering programme, more modern equipment and the introduction of a new survey craft will arrive later this year, hydrographers and meteorological experts working in smaller teams and closer with the UK Hydrographic Office.

At the decommissioning ceremony, HMS Echo's Commanding Officer, Commander Adam Coles, said: "Being trusted with the final command of HMS Echo is a real honour, and I feel privileged to have served in her."