HMS Albion visited Helsinki

The British Royal Navy flagship HMS Albion is in Helsinki this week in its role as the command vessel for the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) in the Baltic Sea. The British are for the first time leading the joint international exercise Baltic Protector, which also includes the navys of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway.

“It’s great to get HMS Albion to visit Helsinki as part of the JEF exercise in the Baltic Sea,” said Paul Hitchcock, manager of Finnish operations for BAE Systems, builder of the vessel. “The ship reflects the relationship between Britain, BAE Systems and Finland, which we believe will continue in future defense and security projects.”

The general public was given a chance on Thursday afternoon to tour the Albion, which is docked in the South Harbor.

Launched in 2001, the Albion is a landing vessel, also called an amphibious transport dock, designed to deploy landing forces during expeditionary warfare. Those who toured the ship were able to see a variety of landing vehicles in its cargo hold, as well as Albion’s gun placements.

The Plymouth-based Albion is 176 meters long and can accommodate up to 400 Royal Marines and crew members. It is powered by four Wärtsilä engines, which will also be used on future Royal Navy aircraft carriers. It can carry 67 vehicles, including the Challenger 2 battle tank, and has a flight deck with two helicopter landing pads.

HMS Albion, the ancient name for Great Britain, is the ninth Royal Navy ship to carry the name.

The Albion also oversaw the recent two-week war games Baltops 19 that were concentrated near Sweden and Lithuana. More than 8,500 international troops, 50 ships and submaries and three dozen aircraft and helicopters participated in the exercise to ensure the security of the Baltic Sea.

Text and photos Michael Hunt

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