The Royal Navy’s Devonport based warship HMS Portland visited the capital to support London International Shipping Week.
London Shipping Week provides networking opportunities for leaders from all sectors of the international shipping industry. A reception hosted on HMS Portland’s flight deck and was attended by 240 industry guests.
The Secretary of State for Transport Patrick Mcloughlin and the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas were two of the many important guests attending in support of London International Shipping Week.
Captain Simon Asquith, the ship’s captain, said: “It was fantastic to be able to support SofS for Transport and First Sea Lord in hosting this important event alongside one of the finest berths anywhere in the world.”
Chief Petty Officer Simon Piles of HMS Portland, said: “It was a great honour to host and meet so many important and influential people in the industries of transport and shipping.”
The evening was brought to a spectacular end with one of the Navy’s traditional ceremonies marking sunset staged in front of Tower Bridge and supported by a the ship’s guard of honour and the Royal Marine Band of HMS Collingwood.
Members of the crew also enjoyed the rare chance to visit and tour of Number 10 Downing Street as part of the visit. Chief Petty Officer Dan Broome said: “To have the opportunity to visit such an important building and see inside was one of the highlights of my career.”
The visit to London coincided with the day the Queen became the country’s longest reigning monarch and the ship’s guard of honour saluted the city’s ceremonial river pageant – staged to mark the historic date – as it passed HMS Portland.
Lord Tim Bentinck, The Earl of Portland, also took the opportunity to visit the ship enjoying a tour and the opportunity to meet many of the ship’s company.
It was also a special visit for three of HMS Portland’s Officers, Principle Warfare Officer Lieutenant Simon Preece, Navigator Lieutenant James Myhill and Sub Lieutenant Daniel Stack all had family members that served onboard the former warship and now museum ship ‘Belfast’ on the Thames. James’ and Daniel’s grandfathers and Simon’s father previously served on Belfast.
HMS Portland is one of Royal Navy’s 13 Type 23, Duke Class frigates – the mainstay of the surface fleet, a fast, manoeuvrable craft, required to scout ahead of the main fleet and heavily armed in comparison with similar sized ships serving in other navies.