Plenty to celebrate for frigate HMS St Albans as warship arrives in London for four-day visit

Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans has today arrived in London and those on board have plenty of reasons to celebrate during their four-day visit to the capital.

The Portsmouth-based warship has had a successful start to her time as the Royal Navy’s fleet ready escort, which means she is the first in line to react to any tasking from the UK government.

Her visit also coincides with International Women’s Day, the 100th anniversary of women in the Naval Service, and National Apprenticeship Week.

Those on board will take part in a number of events to mark the occasions, including welcoming schoolchildren on board to learn about the opportunities for women in the Royal Navy today and attending the House of Commons for a celebration of apprentices.

“It is a real privilege to be able to bring my ship in to London this week not least because we have so much to celebrate,” said Commander Chris Ansell, the Commanding Officer of HMS St Albans.

“My ship’s company are looking forward to some well-earned time ashore following a busy and successful operational period for us. My team is a mix of experienced sailors and people who are sailing for the very first time, and they have all achieved a great deal.

“We currently hold the duty of being the first responder for the nation should there be any need for a maritime response.

“Around 95 per cent of our nation’s trade and 35 per cent of our energy comes in to the UK via the sea so it’s a domain we need to protect and be active in policing.”

Around 95 per cent of our nation’s trade and 35 per cent of our energy comes in to the UK via the sea so it’s a domain we need to protect and be active in policing.

Commander Chris Ansell.

All Royal Navy ships can respond at short notice to sail and protect the UK’s interests in and around home waters, but the role of fleet ready escort means HMS St Albans is the first in line to react.

The duty involves protecting UK territorial waters, maintaining security and protecting sea lanes and UK infrastructure within our economic zone. That might include wind farms, fishing or oil platforms, plus a broad range of other activity that goes on in the seas around Britain.

While HMS St Albans is alongside in London, her 190-strong ship’s company will be taking part in a number of events including International Women’s Day and National Apprenticeship Week.

As the UK celebrates the importance of workplace training schemes for National Apprenticeship Week, every new recruit joining the Royal Navy is automatically enrolled on an apprenticeship in their chosen discipline – and most of those on board HMS St Albans have already earned those qualifications while learning how to fight and survive at sea.

“Like everyone on board I’m looking forward to some time in London,” said Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Dean Gill, from Gosport.

“As an apprentice engineering technician I’m learning everything I need to know to keep the ship going.

"I’ve been trained in how diesel engines, generators, air compressors and salt water pumps work – all the things we need to keep the ship going day-to-day.”