FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Rising sun on the Thames

Posted in England, London by folkestonejack on July 31, 2016

The flagship of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Training Squadron, JS Kashima (TV 3508), arrived in London this afternoon after a 15 day ocean crossing from Baltimore. This will be the very first time that a JMSDF training vessel has made the voyage up the Thames to visit London (although not the first Japanese warship to have graced the Thames).

The Kashima was constructed to a unique design by Hitachi Zosen Corporation and entered service in early 1995 after successfully completing her sea trials in 1994. The ship made the headlines in 2000 when she was rammed by the QE2 after getting caught up in a maritime ‘traffic jam’ off New York.

JS Kashima (TV 3508) passes through the Thames Barrier at 12.25pm

JS Kashima (TV 3508) passes through the Thames Barrier at 12.25pm

It was a close call at my chosen spot by the Thames Barrier as the skies steadily clouded over. My luck was in today as the warship carrying the flag of the rising sun picked a short-lived burst of sun to transit. It was not my only piece of good fortune – I managed to make it back to London Bridge by tube in perfect time to see her pass through Tower Bridge and take up a berth alongside HMS Belfast.

The Kashima will stay in London for three nights, with a public open day on Tuesday 2nd August (full details of the open day, times and cost are available on the website of the Japanese embassy). She is currently scheduled to depart at 2.30pm on Wednesday 3rd August.

JS Kashima takes up her berth alongside HMS Belfast assisted by tugs ZP Bear and SD Seal

JS Kashima takes up her berth alongside HMS Belfast assisted by tugs ZP Bear and SD Seal

The Training Squadron, which also includes the training ship JS Setoyuki (TV 3518) and the Asagiri-class destroyer JS Asagiri (DD 151), is on a 168 day tour of the world which will see them visit 16 ports in 13 different countries. The aim of the deployment is to help develop the skills of the 190 newly commissioned officers on board the three ships.

After leaving Tokyo on May 20th 2016 the squadron made visits to Pearl Harbour, San Diego, Panama City and Baltimore. The other two ships in the squadron, are currently in Brest, France. The squadron will return to Japan on 4th November 2016.

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