Survey ship HMS Echo has arrived in Georgia in what the Royal Navy say is her second visit to the eastern European republic in five months.

The Plymouth-based ship has sailed into the port of Batumi.

In a release, the Royal Navy advise that HMS 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.

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.

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.”

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I’ve always loved the look of HMS Echo from the front with the helipad. Did we build just one of her class or were there others?


2 in the class, the other is HMS Enterprise.


Technically speaking it’s more of a vertrep deck than a true helipad – the white deck square is used as a reference point by pilots.


Yeah they look great, a nice gun forward would make it look even better. And weren’t these two ships built at Appledore ship yard? The one that’s being closed down! It’s a dam crime…. Appledore can build great ships….


Correct -built by Appledore.

Daniele Mandelli

How long has she been in the Black Sea preserving “freedom of navigation”?

I can imagine her being used for Sigint too.

Levi Goldsteinberg

A long time. The awful defence “news” site run by that click-baiting halfwit David Axe ran an article on it in December of last year, so at least that long.

WarIsBoring is the site; their articles are almost always riddled with gaping inaccuracies and tabloid-style rage bait though so unless you can’t tell I really am not recommended reading it


Has been deployed in the area since December last year as noted.

Also worth noting that she has been essentially forward deployed to the Med since late 2016, usually operated from and maintained in Malta.

Daniele Mandelli

And her sister? Are both operational at once or is it one deployed one in UK?


Both were deployed in the Med at one point on migrant patrol. Enterprise took part in joint warrior I believe, underwent maintenance, and is now active in UK waters(or near enough!).

Both are extremely hard working ships.


Presumably the pad is at the front because of various hydro gear at the back. (?)
Although it does not look it , it is nearly 4000 tonnes which is almost destroyer sized. Quite surprising.

Just how much hydro surveying does it need to do off Georgia and in the Black Sea?

Daniele Mandelli

Seriously? You would not think so looking at her.

I think everyone knows she’s not just there for survey work, especially the Russians.

Maybe Russia will send a survey vessel to survey the international waters of the English Channel?


Yeah the Russians said Hms echo was a spy ship! Lol… maybe she might have some surveillance hardware onboard that we don’t know about..


The Russians call this a spy ship!! I wonder if Echo has any surveillance equipment onboard. Anyone know?

Daniele Mandelli

All classified if so, and rightly. My speculation ( and suspicion ) goes back to 82 when HMS Endurance had Sigint equipment on the roof when visiting South American ports. Despite the hullabaloo about Russian agents in the west spying against NATO it still amazes me that people are surprised that we do exactly the same back, probably more! And quite rightly! All countries do it. A mere “survey ship” is ideal. She can carry out other tasks as well as her primary role. Another innocent one is Embassies in foreign capitals. Go take a look at the rectangular sheds… Read more »


I suspect Russia are calling this a spy vessel because of its underwater capabilities. Most of the worlds communication goes through sea cables & not overland.

Daniele Mandelli


Daniele Mandelli

Am I right in recalling that the old survey vessels Hecla Hecate and all were painted white?

Herodotus will know for sure.

Our current survey ships are warship grey. An important distinction.


Also worth noting that both of these survey ships are more heavily armed then say a River or an MCM, with two 20mm cannons mounted.

Daniele Mandelli

Ahh of course. I assume the H class were unarmed?


Yes, I believe so – though Hecate was repainted and fitted with anti-aircraft guns for a short period after the Falklands War.

Your first comment was correct, the class were indeed painted white.

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Lusty. I was 10 at the time!


Many moons have passed, eh? If anything this deployment demonstrates why we need the River and T31 programmes to come online ASAP – and the T31 programme must have scope for more than five vessels. Sending a survey vessel out for this type of work is a fundamental waste of a resource. That’s not to say a survey vessel /shouldn’t/ deploy to the region on occasion to conduct surveys and work with allied navies, but that in being forward deployed for so long, its role as a survey vessel is being diminished. A Batch 2 River would be better suited… Read more »


Morning Lusty. One of them-can’t remember whether it was Echo or Enterprise visited Durban some years ago. We paddled up on a Surf Ski close enough to engage with one of the crew standing guard on her front deck. I was naive enough to ask him where they were headed next! Next minute the local Harbour police descended aggresively and warned us off-I didn’t think two old white men in a sit-on would fit the threat profile but we paddled off as quickly as our arthritic shoulders would take us!

Daniele Mandelli

Good lord geoff.

Sounds like in the UK when elderly ladies in Tumbridge Wells are being put through “stop and search” for knives and drugs, as there was outcry in certain sections of the media and political spectrum that it was always youths and especially black youths being stopped. ( Operation Trident )

The fact IT IS black youths overwhelmingly responsible for this crime is beside the point for the PC brigade.

Discrimination!! Race!

Damn right they challenged two old men in a sit on!

You could have been assets of ISIS sent on a recc job!!!


Haha Daniele. 🙂 We laughed about it afterward but it was a little scarey at the time-unsmiling faces and automatic weapons at the ready!


Afternoon Geoff, good story – and also good you could see the funny side of it afterwards! Though their concerns were well-founded, it’s a shame that this sort of thing can’t really happen.

I am always slightly jealous of their crews, especially Echo. Receiving the ‘hands to bathe’ order in the Med? Yes, please!