PHOTOS: Tight squeeze for RN ship as she inches through narrow gorge
Not every warship’s company can claim to have squeezed through one of the world’s narrowest waterways – but a Royal Navy mine hunter now has bragging rights.
On the latest stage of her Mediterranean deployment with a NATO mine hunting force, HMS Penzance, took the short cut between the Gulf of Corinth and Piraeus, the port of Greece’s capital Athens.
Built 120 years ago the Corinth Canal was meant to save ships a 430-mile trip around the Peloponnese, however these days because it is so narrow it is more of a tourist attraction only able to accommodate vessels smaller that 16 metres (52ft) wide.
Luckily, Penzance is a mere 10.9 metres (36ft) wide so had a few metres to spare.
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With tugs on standby, Penzance to reach the Aegean and prepare for her latest exercise of her autumn deployment, Ariadne 13, organised by the Hellenic Navy.
The canal passage took about an hour to navigate and was over all too soon for the ship’s company.
Penzance’s navigator Lt Dan Owen-Hughes, said: “The Corinth Canal is one of those maritime landmarks that every sailor knows of, so being able to pilot a Royal Navy warship through was definitely a worthy addition to my growing navigation scrapbook.
“There was a moment during the approach where you have to reassure yourself that the ship is in fact wide enough for what clearly looks like too narrow a gap in the early stages.”
HMS Penzance, which makes frequent visits to its namesake town, joined the NATO force in mid-September.