Princess Anne Opens Hydrographic Centre In Taunton

The Princess Royal joined staff and over 100 guests to mark the occasion.

Princess Anne has opened a new hydrographic centre in Taunton, Somerset.

The new Hydrographic Centre is where Royal Navy survey vessels will now send their data to create shipping charts for seas around the world.

The Princess Royal joined staff and over 100 guests to mark the occasion.

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HRH The Princess Royal joined staff and guests at the opening of the Hydrographic Centre (Picture: UKHO).

During her visit, Princess Anne delivered a speech commending the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) for the vital role it plays in supporting maritime navigation, safety, security, and marine development around the UK and worldwide.

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HRH The Princess Royal spoke to Royal Navy staff at the event in Somerset (Picture: UKHO).

The Rt Hon Earl Howe, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords and Minister of State for Defence, also attended the event.

He addressed guests to speak of the UKHO’s long and successful history of supplying navigation services to shipping companies, as well as its continued contribution to defence and the long-term prosperity of the UK and its allies around the world.

Representatives from 18 different countries attended the ceremony.

Guests at the event included dignitaries from the local community, academics, data suppliers, distributors, and members of the Armed Forces and international hydrographic community.

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The new facilities include an 800 square metre atrium (Picture: UKHO).

After the opening speeches, guests were given a tour of the new facilities, which include a high-spec office space, gym, staff restaurant, and an 800 square metre central atrium designed to provide maximum levels of natural daylight throughout the building.

Commenting on the formal opening of the new build, Rear Admiral Tim Lowe CBE, National Hydrographer and Acting Chief Executive, UKHO, said: "[Today] marks the beginning of the next chapter in this organisation’s long and proud history.

"It is the next step in the transformation that the UKHO has been undertaking in recent years to become a truly modern marine geospatial information agency and hydrographic office."

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HRH The Princess Royal delivered a speech for the occasion (Picture: UKHO).

He said the centre has been specifically designed to meet the needs of a cutting-edge hydrographic office.

The ultimate aim, he explained, is to become a world-leading marine geospatial agency and transform into a digital-first, data-centric provider of marine geospatial information services.

Amy Carrillo, Head of People, UKHO, added: "We employ experts from across a range of disciplines, in a variety of challenging and interesting roles."