City mayor Mohammad Iqbal Zia gets taste of life on HMS St Albans

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston with Mayor Mohammad Iqbal Zia. Picture: ST ALBANS COUNCIL

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston with Mayor Mohammad Iqbal Zia. Picture: ST ALBANS COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

A city mayor got a taste of life at sea working for the Royal Navy when he visited HMS St Albans.

Mayor of St Albans Cllr Mohammad Iqbal Zia was invited to an awards ceremony on board the ship HMS St Albans in Portsmouth on Thursday, June 22.

The ceremony, which took place on St Albans Day, recognised high-performing members of the ship’s 220-strong crew.

The awards were also held in honour of Armed Forcs Day on Saturday, June 24, with events held throughout the country to show support for men and women in the armed forces.

Cllr Zia said: “I was privileged to attend the awards ceremony for outstanding members of the crew of HMS St Albans. It was really interesting to learn all about the important work they do as part of the armed forces.

“I was also honoured to meet Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who sailed around the world, as he also attended the ceremony. The event took place on St Albans Day itself, helping to reinforce the close ties between the ship and the city of St Albans.

“I am thankful to commander Chris Ansell for making this memorable.”

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HMS St Albans - a type 23 ‘Duke’ class frigate of the Royal Navy - is currently part of the Fleet Ready Escort, tasked with responding at short notice to maritime threats to the UK, including acts of terrorism and the smuggling of drugs or arms.

The Escort is also involved in training and exercises with various UK military agencies and operations.

The ship’s company was granted the Freedom of the City of St Albans in a special ceremony in 2004.

Commander Chris Ansell, the ship’s captain, said: “This event was a happy coming together of our ship and the City on St Alban’s Day. It is essential to recognise people who go above and beyond, often in adversity and challenging situations.

“I am proud of the crew of HMS St Albans who, at the end of last year, were awarded the frigate effectiveness trophy for their achievements.”