Navy

Behind The Scenes: Sailing On HMS Ocean

Going to sea for months at a time takes a lot of preparation - even more so for a huge vessel. Britain's biggest warship, HMS Ocean, is...

Going to sea for months at a time takes a lot of preparation - even more so for a huge vessel.
 
Britain's biggest warship, HMS Ocean, is hosting four Apaches, two Chinooks, two Merlins, and over 1,000 crew.
 
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Ocean is participating in Exercise Albanian Lion before going on to a six-month deployment.
 
From the Adriatic, she'll head east to the Persian Gulf with the rest of the Joint Expeditionary Force.
 
Once there, she’ll become the first ever British ship to take charge of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet Task Force 50.
 
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The ship's Captain, Rob Pedre, sees it as a very significant deployment:
"I think it’s well-recognised how unstable the world is today and therefore this is a hugely important deployment... because it provides the opportunity for us to demonstrate the UK’s ability to deploy a highly-capable forward deployed maritime task group, but also to stand ready [should crises occur]."
Ocean is almost at full capacity, hosting 1,065 personnel.
 
That’s keeping the galley and Petty Officer Jamie Marples extremely busy:
"Even though we’ve only been at sea for a two-and-a-half-week period, we have used more than we would have normally because of the sheer amount of meals we put out…. On average we get through 750kg of potatoes a day. [With] Sunday roast, we get through 100 chickens, 100kg of beef, and 100kg lamb, which is a hell of a lot of meat." 
HMS Ocean is also hosting a huge range of vehicles and landing craft but her specialty during Albanian Lion is hosting helicopters.
 
That includes fuelling them, ensuring they take off and land safely, and sheltering them from the elements.
 
Until March 2017, meanwhile, she's also home to several hundred people.
 
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