HMS Echo renews east European friendship

Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo has arrived in Georgia – her second visit to the eastern European republic in five months.

The Plymouth-based research ship has sailed into the port of Batumi as she squeezes as much as possible into a three-week spell in the Black Sea.

Echo will work with the Georgian Coastguard at sea on combined exercises, building on the relationship the two established when the Royal Navy ship visited the country in December.

And on this occasion, Echo is also hoping to hold an open day for the public while alongside.

I look forward to working with the Georgian Coastguard once again towards our common aim of peace and stability within the Black Sea.

Commander Matthew Warren RN

Commander Matthew Warren, HMS Echo’s Commanding Officer, said: “I am delighted to return to Batumi where we have enjoyed such a warm welcome from our Georgian friends and allies.

“I look forward to working with the Georgian Coastguard once again towards our common aim of peace and stability within the Black Sea.”

Prior to visiting Georgia, HMS Echo negotiated the Turkish Straits, first the Dardanelles and then the Bosporus, focussed on making the most of a three-week period in the Black Sea.

While there, the ship worked closely with Britain’s allies to reinforce freedom of navigation within the region.

That’s included a visit to Constanta – Romania’s oldest city – where her sailors carried out survey training with the host navy which included a demonstration of survey motor boat Sapphire’s advanced capabilities. The small craft is designed to operate independently, allowing access to shallow or confined areas where the ship herself cannot operate.

As part of the visit, Cdr Warren hosted members of the Romanian Parliament’s defence committee and spoke to local media.

He added: “HMS Echo’s presence [in the Black Sea] forms part of the UK’s commitment to working with regional allies to preserve freedom of navigation within the Black Sea in line with international law.

“This is important activity that helps maintain regional stability and support economic prosperity.”