One of the Royal Navy’s state-of-the-art warships will be sailing into Belfast Lough on Saturday morning on its first-ever visit to her twinned city.
HMS Duncan is the sixth, and last, of the UK’s new hi-tech Type 45 destroyers and will remain in Belfast until Tuesday.
During its stay, the ship’s crew will undertake a series of official engagements including work on behalf of their nominated charity - the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.
Members of the public will have the chance to board the vessel on Sunday between 12pm and 5pm. Anyone interested must register for a free ticket by contacting the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre at Donegall Square North on 028 9024 6609.
Coaches are being laid on to transfer visitors from Chichester Street to the ship and back.
The Type 45s are the most advanced warships ever produced in the UK.
Their role is to shield the RN fleet from air attack using the very latest Sea Viper missile system.
With huge flight able decks to accommodate helicopters up to the size of the Chinook, the destroyers can be utilised as general purpose warships.
There is also enough room on board to carry a Royal Marines detachment of up to 60 troops.
Commander James Stride, the commanding officer of HMS Duncan, said the ship has already proved itself at sea.
“This is our first visit to our adopted city and it is fitting that it is one of our first destinations since being formally accepted into the fleet.
“I am hugely proud to be the first commanding officer to bring her to Belfast.”
Commander Stride added: “My ship’s company and I feel extremely privileged to be affiliated to such an historic maritime city, and we are also particularly looking forward to welcoming visitors on board during our visit – especially when the ship opens to the public on Sunday.”
Destroyers are among the ships that make up the backbone of the modern-day Royal Navy, committed around the world, 365 days-a-year hunting pirates, drug runners and submarines, defending the fleet from air attack, and providing humanitarian aid after natural disasters.
HMS Duncan’s sister ship, HMS Daring, was recently involved in relief operations in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.