HMS Ocean departs after Olympic Games duties

16:06 12 September 2012

HMS Ocean prepares to set sail from its home of the last few weeks. Picture by Kay Atwal

HMS Ocean prepares to set sail from its home of the last few weeks. Picture by Kay Atwal

Archant

After weeks of guarding London during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, HMS Ocean and her crew left Greenwich today in a low key departure.

Empty aircraft hangar on board HMS Ocean. Picture by Kay AtwalEmpty aircraft hangar on board HMS Ocean. Picture by Kay Atwal

There was no fanfare or fuss onboard the helicopter ship, which quietly sailed down the River Thames with the help of four tugs and a police escort to help her navigate the narrow channel.

Although her quiet, understated departure contrasted with her high profile arrival in Greenwich in May, it was in keeping with the calm, competent role she and her crew performed during the Games.

The atmosphere on board the vessel was akin to someone about to move house as the flight deck was empty of aircraft, making it look huge, as was the aircraft hangar below.

Another deck which usually houses vehicles contained crates and other large items tied down.

Even the flight deck had trucks and pallets tied down in readiness for the ship’s move to Plymouth where she is due to undergo a refit.

Crowds of people and groups of schoolchildren lined sides of the River Thames as she sailed gracefully towards the sea.

Sailors stood in groups and waved as they took a last look at the view.

Read about Kay Atwal’s experience on board HMS Ocean in the Newham Recorder.

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