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Mighty O on the go as HMS Ocean is moved to her new amphibious home
25 February 2014

Another milestone for Britain’s biggest warship has been passed as she made the short journey from her home for the past 12 months to her permanent home.

Tugs helped HMS Ocean from No.5 Basin, where she’s undergone a £65m refit, to Weston Mill Lake, where the RN’s amphibious forces are concentrated.

Picture: LA(Phot) Dean Nixon

ON THE move for the first time in many a month is Britain’s biggest warship which made the short journey from No.5 Basin to Weston Mill Lake for the very final stages of her £65m revamp.

Helicopter assault ship HMS Ocean was helped by tugs through the narrow entrance/exit to the basin – her home for the past year or so – and up the Hamoaze to ‘Amphibious Alley’, her now-permanent home when alongside in Devonport.

At 16 Wharf in Weston Mill Lake – once ‘Frigate Alley’ but now earning a new nickname with the concentration of assault ships and 1 Assault Group Royal Marines in this part of the naval base – her ever-growing ship’s company will prepare the 21,500-tonne warship for sea again.

The mixed ship’s company of 150 sailors and Royal Marines from 9 Assault Squadron – one third of the total complement when she deploys – joined the ship a fortnight ago to guide the Mighty O through the closing stages of the revamp.

That upgrade – equivalent to overhauling three frigates simultaneously and the biggest project of its kind carried out at Devonport in two decades – has seen Ocean revamped from bow to stern and top mast to keel: refurbished flight deck, hangar, mess decks, improved galley and sick bay, over a kilometre of new piping installed and 100,000 litres of paint applied.

Following sea trials of the ship and equipment, the crew will undergo intensive training under Flag Officer Sea Training off the South West coast so the ship can take over as the UK’s on-call helicopter assault carrier from HMS Illustrious at the year’s end.