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First Minister among thousands to walk gangway.

THOUSANDS of visitors - including First Minister Rhodri Morgan - will be taking to the water when the Royal Navy warship HMS Southampton comes to Cardiff this weekend.

The impressive Type 42 destroyer will be docked alongside Britannia Quay in Cardiff Bay, throughout the weekend, and visitors are being encouraged to explore the spectacular vessel.

Today the 125-metre long warship was to open its gangways to the public between 10amand 2pm. The "Ship Open to Visitors" programme allows friends, family and enthusiasts to look, get on board the vessel and experience an active navy warship first-hand.

On Monday the boat will host a demonstration for the Wales Resilience Forum, which is chaired by Rhodri Morgan.

The presentation will show how the navy could provide assistance to the civil authorities in the event of a large-scale incident or emergency in the Cardiff area.

Richard Morris, commanding officer of HMS Southampton, said: "This visit to Cardiff is crucial for our relationship with the city and we want to demonstrate that as well as being a highly capable warship, we can also play a vital role in peacetime operations.

"We are looking forward to welcoming the First Minister and know that he will be impressed by what he sees."

CAPTION(S):

WELCOME ABOARD WO1 Tony Carre, from Port Talbot, L/S Paul Matthews, from Merthyr Tydfil, and L/L Jo Hopkins, from Llanelli, are among the crew of HMS Southampton. PICTURE: Mark Fraser Y
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 5, 2008
Words:239
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