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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 05:57 GMT 06:57 UK
Assault warship sails into city
Albion will open her gangway to members of the public
Albion will open her gangway to members of the public
The largest Royal Navy warship to visit Belfast for more than 30 years is expected in the city later.

The crew of the HMS Albion will take part in the Belfast Maritime Festival being held at Clarendon Dock over the weekend.

The 176 metre Royal Navy assault ship will visit the city for the first time since she was commissioned in 2004.

There will also be a chance to see a Merlin helicopter, one of the fastest and capable anti-submarine aircraft.

On Friday, HMS Albion Commanding Officer Captain Tim Lowe will pay an official call on the Lord Mayor of Belfast.

The ship will also host an official reception to mark her inaugural visit to the city.

The 18,500 tonne vessel is capable of transporting troops, equipment and aircraft to trouble spots across in the world.

In the past decade, the Royal Navy fleet has commissioned 28 new ships and one new submarine as part of a 14bn warship building programme.

Captain Lowe said he was delighted to be bringing Albion to Belfast for the first time.

"In recent years Belfast has become a popular port visit for the Royal Navy due to the hospitality of the people and growing vibrancy of the city and my ships company are excited about the visit," he said.

Royal Navy fleet has commissioned 28 new ships
Royal Navy fleet has commissioned 28 new ships

"I hope that opening Albion up to visitors will let people see the capabilities of a modern operational warship and meet the personnel who serve on her."

Albion will open her gangway to members of the public from 1000-1600 BST on Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July.

Admission is free and a free shuttle bus will run from the main Maritime Festival Arena at Clarendon Dock to the ship, which will berth at Pollock Dock.


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