Sunderland is in talks about the possibility of adopting another warship after HMS Ocean retires.
The Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship has been affiliated with Sunderland throughout her 20 years of service and the Freedom of the City was bestowed upon the ship and her crew in 2004.
She is to be decommissioned and replaced by a new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Ocean visited the city for the last time in July, when scores of people turned out to welcome her into the Port of Sunderland and more than 240 officers and ratings from the Ship’s Company marched through the city centre, accompanied by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.
New council bosses have confirmed they have approached the Royal Navy about the possibility of the city adopting a new ship.
In response to a question from Conservative group leader Coun Robert Oliver, Sunderland City Council deputy leader Coun Harry Trueman confirmed discussions were underway and the Navy was looking at the possibility of a new adopted ship for Sunderland.
Discussions have taken place with the Royal Navy, who have acknowledged they will be considering an alternative affiliation for Sunderland following the decommissioning of HMS Ocean.Coun Harry Trueman
“Discussions have taken place with the Royal Navy, who have acknowledged they will be considering an alternative affiliation for Sunderland following the decommissioning of HMS Ocean,” said Coun Trueman.
“We will progress discussions in 2018 and continue to work with the Naval Regional Command to maintain our excellent affiliation with the Royal Navy.”
Coun Trueman also paid tribute to the crew of HMS Ocean, which has recently been helping with the relief effort in the Caribbean after it was hit by Hurricane Irma.
“HMS Ocean always stands ready to respond to emergent crises , wherever they may be,” he said.
“In response to the recent hurricanes, the ship’s company have responded magnificently to the urgent humanitarian situation in the Caribbean and the successful completion of a gargantuan logistics effort, loading some 275 pallets of humanitarian and disaster relief stores in a brief period alongside in Gibraltar, is testament to their professionalism and determination to make a real difference.
“We are very honoured for HMS Ocean to play such a crucial role on behalf of the city and its people of Sunderland and by the help they continue to show to help overseas territories in their time of need.”