Sunday, February 22, 2009
HMS Echo Makes Friends with Indonesian Pupils
The Devonport-based Hydrographic and Oceanographic Survey Vessel HMS Echo recently strengthened international ties and made new friends during a ship visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, one of a number of ports she has visited during her current deployment to the Far East.
Following a warm welcome from local authorities and a visit from the ship’s opposite numbers in the Indonesian Navy, 30 members of the Ship’s Company travelled to the Pondok Pesantren Asshiddiqiyah Islamic College located on the outskirts of Jakarta to assist pupils planting trees around the school.
The school welcomed the naval contingent and British Ambassador Mr Martin Hatful with a display of flags and music before welcoming them inside the college’s mosque for speeches and a presentation of gifts. Following the festivities the crew members joined the school’s pupils in games of volleyball and football – the home side winning both matches.
Commander Gary Brooks, Commanding Officer of HMS Echo said: “A mutual friendship definitely developed between the children, their teachers and the sailors. All from HMS Echo experienced the mutual benefit of the Royal Navy mixing with the Indonesian community.”
Over the following days Echo repaid the school’s hospitality, inviting 18 pupils and staff onboard. Activities included a tour of the ship and an introduction to life on a Royal Navy Surveying vessel, which included dressing up a volunteer in full fire-fighting equipment.
HMS Echo, the 12th ship to bear the name, is a Multi-Role Hydrographic and Oceanographic survey vessel. The ship’s affiliated town is Taunton in Somerset. HMS Echo is equipped with the latest integrated survey systems as well as advanced navigation and communications. The ship operates a 'lean' manned 3-watch rotation system and the total Ship’s Company is 72, with 48 personnel onboard at any one time. Ship’s Company work a cycle of 75 days on, 30 days off and the ship has an endurance of 35 days.