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Royal Navy's pride of the West Country returns to her Scottish roots

21 September 2016
HMS Somerset will sail up the Clyde this weekend for a period of local engagement together with an opportunity for rest and recreation for the Ship’s Company.

The Clyde-built Warship, one of thirteen Type 23 Duke-class  frigates in service with the Royal Navy, arrives in Govan’s King George V Dock late on Friday evening and will welcome a range of visitors on board for fascinating tours during her stay.

On her voyage up the Clyde, HMS Somerset will pass the BAE Systems shipyard at Scotstoun where she was built 22 years ago. The Scotstoun yard remains central to the United Kingdom’s warship construction programme and is where, in conjunction with BAE Systems at Govan, the next generation of Royal Navy Warships, the Type 26 and Type 31 frigates, will be constructed

Once alongside HMS Somerset has a busy programme of engagement. On Saturday afternoon there will be the chance for 60 of the next generation of Royal Navy sailors to get acquainted with the Type 23 frigate. These candidates, at various stages through the recruiting and selection process, will have the opportunity to get close to some of the variety of high tech equipment they will be working on, as well as meeting some of the people they will be working with, in the course of their naval careers.

It is on Sunday that members of the public can get a chance so see HMS Somerset close up. The ship will open her gangway to all from 10am to 4pm offering an exciting opportunity for people to gain a first-hand insight into life aboard a Royal Naval vessel and learn about its operational capabilities.

Access is by ticket only. However, these are free and can be ordered online through Somerset Free Open Day Tickets

HMS Somerset will open to visitors on Sunday from 10am to 4pm

Free tickets can be ordered online

Throughout the day, her crew members will be on hand to guide visitors around her decks, chatting to them about the role of the ship at the heart of the Royal Navy, as well as their experiences in the Senior Service, protecting our nation’s interests both at home and worldwide.

Access to the ship will be through the main King George V Dock gate (G51 4SE) off Renfrew Road. Doors will be open from 9.30am for security checks and will close at 4pm ahead of the last entry to the ship at 4.30pm. On street parking is available close by and the service 21 and 23 buses run to stops near to the gate from Braehead Shopping Centre. Large numbers of visitors are anticipated and, as there is limited shelter, should dress appropriately for a Scottish September day.

Engagement will continue into the week with bespoke visits from West of Scotland Science, Technology and Engineering employers, sponsored by the Lowland Reserve Forces and Cadet Association, together with local careers advisors on Monday. In the evening HMS Somerset will host a special capability demonstration for local civic dignitaries as well as other invited guests from across Glasgow and the West of Scotland,  including a below decks tour and a performance by the Royal Marines Band. On Tuesday, the ship will host representatives from West of Scotland emergency services and civil contingency agencies to demonstrate the variety of capabilities the ship can bring to humanitarian assistance operations.

In between all this activity, the time alongside will provide an opportunity for the HMS Somerset’s ship’s company to enjoy some time ashore, mixing with the local community and enjoying Glasgow’s vibrant night life.

This will be HMS Somerset’s third visit to a Scottish port this summer having already spent some time alongside in Lerwick in June before visiting Edinburgh at the start of August.

Originally designed for anti-submarine warfare in the North Atlantic, the Type 23 frigates have proven their versatility, undertaking the Royal Navy's three core roles - warfighting, maritime security and international engagement - around the globe.

Together with the Type 45 destroyers, the Type 23 frigates are the core of today’s front-line Fleet. In addition to operating in European waters, they can be typically be found east of Suez safeguarding Britain's vital maritime trade routes or protecting Britain's interests in the South Atlantic.

In April 2015, HMS Somerset, along with Border Force cutter Valiant, was responsible for the capture of the biggest seizure of cocaine in UK history. Three tonnes of the Class A drug, worth £500m were discovered inside the ship MV Hamal about 100 miles off the coast of Aberdeen.

HMS Somerset will depart Glasgow on Tuesday evening.

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