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HMS Ocean sails up Thames for Olympics exercise

HMS Ocean will be moored at Greenwich and will be acting as a maritime logistic hub in support of police-led maritime security operations during…

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HMS Ocean will be moored at Greenwich and will be acting as a maritime logistic hub in support of police-led maritime security operations during Exercise Olympic Guardian.

Four Royal Navy Lynx helicopters and four Army Air Corps Lynx helicopters will also operate from the ship.

The military and civilian exercise is being staged to ensure the London 2012 Olympic Games are as safe and secure as possible.

The exercise involves a wide rage of capabilities being rehearsed over a nine-day period, including the testing of air defence missile systems at sites around London and the use of the Typhoon fighters which arrived at RAF Northolt earlier this week. See Related News to read more about these.

Running from 2 to 10 May, spanning the bank holiday weekend, most of the exercise will be played out in the public domain and the military aspects of it will result in a visible presence of Armed Forces personnel, ships and aircraft.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

HMS Ocean’s arrival in London on the River Thames today completes the build-up of military assets and personnel taking part in Exercise Olympic Guardian over the coming days which will test the role of the Armed Forces in keeping the Games safe and secure.

The public will expect that we are ready and prepared in the unlikely event that any threat emerges. That is why Typhoon fast jets are stationed at RAF Northolt, ground-based air defences are being tested at sites across London, and helicopters and Royal Marines will be operating from HMS Ocean, the Royal Navy’s largest ship, berthed at Greenwich.

Security for the Games will be police-led, but I am proud to see the military taking a key role in the security arrangements around the world’s greatest sporting event which will be watched by billions worldwide.

During the exercise, a number of small craft will be visible on the Thames, including boats operated by Royal Marines from 539 Assault Squadron and 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group, and P2000 patrol boats. During the Games period HMS Ocean will also provide accommodation for some of the Venue Security Force working at a variety of Olympics locations.

Captain Andrew Betton, Commanding Officer of HMS Ocean, said:

As a former Commanding Officer of HMS Westminster, a ship with such great links to London, I am particularly pleased to be bringing HMS Ocean to Greenwich to be part of the Olympics, a truly once-in-a-generation event.

“HMS Ocean is the largest ship in the Royal Navy and is ideally suited to the task of supporting the police in providing security for the world’s largest, most famous sporting event.

“Everyone on board is proud to be involved in the Olympic Games and thrilled to bring our ship into the centre of London for all to see at such an important and exciting time for the city.”

Although HMS Ocean will be playing an important role in the military support to the Games, it is normal activity for the ship, which routinely prepares for operations. The Games add the need to work closely with civilian authorities and the exercise will enable the Royal Navy to become familiar with the unique Thames environment.

Published 4 May 2012