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French Navy Ship Flamant in West India Dock

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On a grey miserable day,  we welcome the arrival of French Navy ship Flamant (P676).

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FS Flamant is a Flamant class patrol boats of the French Navy used for fishery monitoring, search and rescue, and patrolling France’s coastal waters.

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FS Flamant  and sister ships FS Cormoran and FS Pluvier were built and are based in Cherbourg. The three boats were ordered 1993 and entered service in 1997.

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Cormoran and Pluvier have visited West India Dock previously in 2013 and 2014, Flamant is 54 m (177 ft 2 in) long and has a beam of 10 m (32 ft 10 in). The ship usually carries a crew of 21 which includes 3 officers and 18 men.

Flamant photo Fraser Gray

Photo – Fraser Gray

The FS Flamant visited West India Dock at this time last year and the visit is likely to be related to Remembrance Sunday which takes place this weekend.

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HMS Sutherland (F81) in West India Dock

Over the weekend saw the arrival of the HMS Sutherland (F81) in West India Dock, HMS Sutherland is a Type 23 frigate which was launched in 1996 at the Yarrow yard (BAE) on the Clyde. One unusual aspect of the official launch was the smashing of a bottle of whisky against the hull not champagne which is the usual tradition. The Sutherland’s home port is Devonport in Plymouth.

Since she was launched, HMS Sutherland has undertaken a number of missions, in 2000 she undertook the first circumnavigation of the globe by a Royal Navy ship for 14 years.

More recently she has taken part in Exercise Griffin Strike, a UK-French combined exercise. The Sutherland escorted the Russian warships through the English Channel in 2016 and 2017. Also the Sutherland was the first vessel assigned to escort HMS Queen Elizabeth when she embarked on sea trials in 2017.

The ship is 133 m (436 ft 4 in) long with a beam of 16.1 m (52 ft 10 in) and draught of 7.3 m (23 ft 9 in).
The ship has a general crew complement  of 185 with accommodation for up to 205.

At this moment, the plan for the ship is not known or how long it will stay in dock .

Chinese Navy Ships Huanggang and Yangzhou in West India Dock

After travelling for a few weeks, it is nice to be back and reporting on local events. A major surprise, this morning was the arrival of two Chinese Navy ships in West India Dock.

The frigates Huanggang (577) and Yangzhou (578) are part of the Chinese Fleet which are rare visitors to UK shores and especially London.

Both of the new frigates are part of the East China Sea Fleet and belong to the Type 054A missile frigate family developed and built by China.

The frigates are 135 meters long and 16 meters wide and were built-in the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

The Type 054 A frigate can be used to attack surface ships and submarines with long-range surveillance and air defense capabilities.

Both the Huanggang and Yangzhou were recently at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium on a friendly visit, therefore it can be assumed that the trip to London is part of a tour of European ports.

It is not known how long the ships are in port or if they will be open to the public for visits.

On Board the Brazilian Navy Tall Ship Cisne Branco in West India Dock

After yesterday’s arrival of the Cisne Branco of the Brazilian Navy, this morning I decided to have a closer look at the tall ship. Whilst taking a few pictures, I was invited to step on board and have a look around.

Although smaller than the recent visitor to the dock BAP Union, the Cisne Branco is much sleeker which reflected the ships design that was inspired by 19th century clippers.

There is something very nostalgic about these tall ships even if they have built recently, the Cisne Branco which means “white swan.” was built in the Daman shipyard in Amsterdam and was launched in 1999, the ship was commissioned as a Brazilian naval vessel in 2000.

Like many of these naval tall ships, the Cisne Branco is used to promote Brazilian Navy and Brazilian culture and the crew is made up of permanent crew and cadets of the Brazilian Naval School, Academy of Merchant Marine, and other naval schools.

Talking to some of the crew, the ship left Brazil in April and is due to return to its base in Rio in October.

The good news is that the ship will open to the public from 1pm today and open everyday till the ship departs on Saturday.

So if you would like to visit  a working tall ship, take this opportunity to have a look around.

Brazilian Navy Tall Ship Cisne Branco in West India Dock

After the recent visit of the Peruvian tall ship BAP Union,  we welcome another South American tall ship with the arrival of the Cisne Branco of the Brazilian Navy.

Cisne Branco which means “white swan.” was built in the Daman shipyard in Amsterdam and was launched in 1999, the ship was commissioned as a Brazilian naval vessel in 2000.

Cisne Branco made her maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil. The ship’s design was inspired by 19th century clippers and is sleek and fast like many of its predecessors.

Like many of these naval tall ships, the Cisne Branco is used to promote Brazilian Navy and Brazilian culture but has a functional use in training the cadets of the Brazilian Naval School, Academy of Merchant Marine, and other naval schools. She also takes part in tall ship races and regatta around the world.

The ship is 74 m (243 ft) long, has a beam of 10 m (33 ft), height of 46 m (151 ft) and carries a crew of around 140.

Many of these ships tend to be open to the public when they are in dock, however the details are not known at this time.

On board the Peruvian Navy BAP Unión Tall Ship in West India Dock

One of the delights of living near West India Dock is that you can often go on board some of the visiting ships.

Today was the first open day for the impressive Peruvian BAP Unión tall ship which is a training ship of the Peruvian Navy. Climbing on board, you immediately notice the newness of the ship, it was built between 2012–2015 by Shipyard Marine Industrial Services of Peru.

The BAP Unión is the second largest sailing vessel in the world. It is a four-masted class “A” barque with a total length (including bowsprit) of 115.50 m (378 ft 11 in); a beam of 13.50 m (44 ft 3 in) and a draft of 6.50 m (21 ft 4 in).

As you wander around the ship, the scale becomes more apparent, the enormous sail rig is composed of 34 sails with a total sail area of approximately 3,402 m2 (36,620 sq ft).

The ship has a crew of 250 officers and trainees and plenty were at hand to show visitors around the ship. Like a number of similar tall ships, Bap Unión is not only for training purposes, but also to be a sailing ambassador for its home country. The ship’s figurehead is made by Peruvian sculptor Pilar Martinez Woodman and features several symbols of the Inca culture.

These type of ships are considered important symbols for their country and there is plenty of Peruvian goods on display to give some idea of Peruvian culture.

It is not everyday that you can  go on board the second largest sailing vessel in the world and the good news is that the ship will be open for four days..

The ship will be open to the public at the following times

10.00-16.00 on 25th July

10.00-15.00. on 26th 27th July

10.00-16.00 on 29th July

BAP Unión Tall Ship in West India Dock

 

On a grey miserable day, we welcome the impressive BAP Unión tall ship which is a training ship of the Peruvian Navy built between 2012–2015 by Shipyard Marine Industrial Services of Peru, It is a four-masted class “A” barque with a total length (including bowsprit) of 115.50 m (378 ft 11 in); a beam of 13.50 m (44 ft 3 in) and a draft of 6.50 m (21 ft 4 in).

 

The ship has a crew of 250 officers and trainees and is named after a Peruvian ship that took part in the 1879–1883 War of the Pacific.

 

Like a number of similar tall ships, Unión is not only for training purposes, but also to be a sailing ambassador for its home country. The ship is considered one of the largest sailing vessel in Latin America.

 

These type of ships are considered important symbols for their country and this relatively new ship is one of the most impressive tall ships to visit West India Dock.

While the ship was under construction, the Peruvian government arranged training for the future Unión’s crew to serve on training ships of other countries including the Mexican sailing ship ARM Cuauhtémoc and Colombian sailing ship ARC Gloria, both which have visited West India Dock in recent years.

The ship will be open to the public at the following times

10.00-16.00 on 25th July

10.00-15.00. on 26th 27th July

10.00-16.00 on 29th July