Families, friends and the general public were welcomed aboard HMS Liverpool this weekend, as the Royal Navy destroyer visited the city for what could be the last time.
The 28-year-old Type 42 Destroyer, built in Birkenhead by Cammell Laird, is now coming to the end of its service life and will be decommissioned in mid-2012, to be replaced by the larger, more potent, new Type 45 Destroyer.
HMS Liverpool has seen service all around the globe, most
recently in the Caribbean. The ship's company of 260 took part in
the air defence role within the AURIGA Task Group, comprising a
number of other Royal Navy ships, such as HMS Ark Royal, in flying
operations with the US Navy.
The ship, which docked at Liverpool's new cruise liner terminal last
Thursday, attracted a huge amount of interest, as it opened its
doors to the public over the weekend.
Not only did it provide the people of Liverpool another interesting
tourist attraction, but also hosted a very happy occasion.
Able Seaman Chris Evans, a veteran of the Royal Navy for nine years,
had his daughter christened aboard the vessel on Saturday. He told
JMU Journalism: "I'm a big fan of old Navy tradition, I’ve been in the
Navy a few years now and it's a fantastic tradition to uphold, especially on HMS Liverpool in Liverpool."
Liverpool's Lord Mayor, Councillor Hazel Williams, was the first person to welcome the crew when it docked last Thursday, and she told JMU Journalism: "It's a wonderful feeling tinged with a bit of sadness. It's a wonderful ship, we have got some local lads on there and I thought it was right and proper that the first citizen of Liverpool should welcome the ship back in."
The ship, recently out from a refit, with new weapons systems added to its arsenal, is now to be tested over the coming weeks. Commander Colin Williams, Captain of HMS Liverpool, told JMU Journalism: "We sail from here and go out and fire some missiles to prove that our systems work, then we’ve got to go and do a deployment on completion of that, delivering the nation's maritime responsive task group.
"We are held at five days' notice to move and we could go anywhere in the world, to go and deliver whatever the Government requires us to do, and we are part of that as the air defence platform."
The ship set sail up the Mersey out to the Irish Sea on Sunday leaving Liverpool behind for what may be its final visit.
By Ayden Feeney & Bethan Hockey, JMU Journalism TV
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HMS Liverpool sailed up the Mersey in an emotional visit as it could be scrapped in 2012 Pic: Vegard Grott