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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 13:06 GMT
Fact file: HMS Ocean
HMS Ocean

HMS Ocean is an amphibious helicopter carrier, but it has the ability to deploy troops from its landing craft as well as by air.

It was commissioned into the British fleet in August 1998 and is the sixth ship to bear the famous name. It is based in Devonport in Devon.

The ship carries a crew of 255, an aircrew of 206 and up to 480 Royal Marine Commandos.

In a short-term emergency it is capable of transporting and sustaining an embarked military force of up to 800 men equipped with artillery, vehicles and stores.

Humanitarian assistance

It can also accommodate up to 12 Sea King or Merlin helicopters, plus six more Apaches, Gazelles or Lynx helicopters and four landing craft.

The ship is capable of transporting Sea Harrier Aircraft and it can carry 40 land rovers, 34 trailers and six light guns

The flight deck is 170m long and 34m wide and it weighs 21,758 tonnes. It has a maximum speed of 19 knots.

HMS Ocean's secondary roles include afloat training, a limited anti-submarine warfare platform and a base for anti-terrorist operations.


The ship made a dramatic start to its operational life.

While undertaking first-of-class trials, it was called to Honduras to give humanitarian assistance following the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

Ocean was also diverted in 1999 to provide humanitarian assistance to Turkey in the wake of an earthquake.

The ship's Sea King Helicopters were involved in search and rescue operations and were responsible for locating several people trapped under wreckage and rubble.

In May 2000 HMS Ocean was deployed to the West African coast to support British forces in Sierra Leone.

Most recently it was used to take Royal Marines to Afghanistan.

Amphibious helicopter carrier
Crew: 450+
Main aircraft 12 Sea King helicopters
Speed: 21.8mph (19 knots)
Length: 203.4m (667.3 feet)
Width: 34m (111.5 feet)
Weight: 21,758 tonnes
Source: Royal Navy







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