Prince Charles praises Echo's crew for Mediterranean lifesaving mission

The Prince of Wales shared “his and his nation’s pride” with the men and women of HMS Echo when he thanked them for their mercy mission in the Med.

The heir to the throne dropped in on the Plymouth-based survey ship in Athens’ port of Piraeus as Echo took a break from Operation Sophia – the international naval effort to stop people trafficking from North Africa to Europe.

Aboard he learned of Echo’s efforts since she was assigned to the mission – also known as Operation Litten by UK forces – at the tail end of 2015.

Two and a half years later and Echo’s sailors have saved more than 8,000 lives, destroyed 66 boats used for trafficking and assisted in the arrest of 15 people involved in the illegal smuggling operation.

The Prince told Echo’s Commanding Officer Cdr Andrew Norgate and his ship’s company, gathered on the quarterdeck, of “his and his nation’s pride” in the lifesaving work they are doing.

“The efforts of HMS Echo’s ship’s company on Operation Litten cannot be understated and this visit from His Royal Highness was a very well received reward following months of hard work on deployment,” said Echo’s Navigating Officer Lt Will Mills.

The efforts of HMS Echo’s ship’s company on Operation Litten cannot be understated and this visit from His Royal Highness was a very well received reward following months of hard work on deployment,

Lt Will Mills

In addition to her rescue/counter-trafficking duties in the central Mediterranean, more recently the ship has resumed her traditional role of providing an accurate picture of the seabed by surveying the waters around Malta at the request of the Commonwealth nation’s government.

The results of that work were outlined for the prince by Cdr Norgate, assisted by some of the impressive and colourful 3D scans produced by Echo’s suite of hydrographic and sonar equipment.

And two of the ship’s company – PO(CS) Garry Warnes from Crownhill in Plymouth and WO1 Bryan Doody from Dunfermline – were presented with clasps to their Long Service and Good Conduct medal by Prince Charles, recognising the 67 combined years of service they have given to the Royal Navy so far.