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Gibraltarian Royal Navy commander steers his ship on rare London visit

ROYAL NAVY hydrographic ship HMS Enterprise is making a rare visit to London. Whilst berthed in the Capital the Echo-Class Multi Survey Vessel, usually based in Plymouth, will carry out a plethora of ceremonial roles as well as providing the public with an opportunity to get onboard. Amongst those roles is the Ceremony of the Constables Dues at the Tower of London on Monday 24th June. This ancient custom originated in the 14th Century in the reign of King Richard II who decreed that any large navy vessel passing upstream was to pay a levy to the Tower. The levy required was a barrel of navy rum. HMS Enterprise?s primary role is to conduct hydrographic and oceanographic survey which contributes to the safety of mariners both in and out of defence. Primarily a survey ship, she is also a warship armed with two 20mm cannons, three Mk44 miniguns and four General Purpose Machine Guns.

A Gibraltarian Royal Navy commander has spoken of his pride at sailing his ship up the river Thames for a rare port visit to London.

The hydrographic ship HMS Enterprise will carry out a number of ceremonial roles in the British capital as well as providing the public with an opportunity to visit on board.

“I am delighted to have had the chance to bring Enterprise to our great nation’s capital," said HMS Enterprise’s Commanding Officer, Commander Cecil Ladislaus.

"This is a unique opportunity and it is an honour to represent the RN at a number of high-profile events."

PHOTO: Ministry of Defence

PHOTO: Ministry of Defence

By coincidence, while HMS Enterprise is berthed in London, its sister vessel, HMS Echo, is berthed in Gibraltar, where it will host events connected to Maritime Week next week.

Additionally, the ship will conduct a number of surveys in British Gibraltar territorial waters during its stay.

HMS Echo and HMS Talent in Gibraltar.  Photo by David Sanchez.

HMS Echo and HMS Talent in Gibraltar.
Photo by David Sanchez.

On Thursday, HMS Enterprise hosted the newly appointed First Sea Lord, the Head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Tony Radakin, and performed a sunset ceremony at a special reception held on board.

The 1st Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, onboard HMS Enterprise at West India Docks in London. Photo: Ministry of Defence

The 1st Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, onboard HMS Enterprise at West India Docks in London.
Photo: Ministry of Defence

Among the guests at the reception were Dominque Searle, the Gibraltar Government's representative in the UK, and Tyrone Duarte, deputy head of mission at Gibraltar House.

Among the duties that HMS Enterprise will fulfil during its visit to London is the Ceremony of the Constables Dues at the Tower of London on Monday.

This ancient custom originated in the 14th Century in the reign of King Richard II who decreed that any large navy vessel passing upstream was to pay a levy to the Tower. The levy required was a barrel of navy rum.

?“My team are looking forward to the visit and are excited about performing the ‘Ceremony of the Dues’ at the Tower of London," said Commander Ladislaus, who has also served on Royal Navy submarines.

"Many members of the Naval Service will go their entire careers without being able to march a barrel of rum to the Tower of London – I am thrilled that the current ship’s company will have this rare privilege."

"So far, the city has made us exceptionally welcome, and we look forward to the rest of our port visit.”

On Monday the crew will also attend the Flag Raising ceremony at London Guildhall for National Armed Forces Day as well as the launch of London International Sea Week and London Armed Forces week.

HMS Enterprise’s primary role is to conduct hydrographic and oceanographic survey which contributes to the safety of mariners both in and out of defence.

PHOTO: Ministry of Defence

PHOTO: Ministry of Defence

Primarily a survey ship, she is also a warship armed with two 20mm cannons, three Mk44 miniguns and four General Purpose Machine Guns.

HMS Enterprise is currently berthed in London's West India Docks.

Any members of the public wishing to visit her can do so today.

Tickets can be obtained free online from Eventbrite.

MAIN PHOTO: Ministry of Defence