THIS Thursday it will be 22 years since the Queen visited Barrow shipyard to officially name the amphibious assault ship Ocean.

The ship was built by Kvaerner Govan on the River Clyde in Scotland but moved to Barrow to be fitted out by workers at VSEL.

It was designed to take Royal Marines into battle by landing craft with air support from helicopters based on its flight deck.

Thousands turned out at the railway station and at the Barrow yard to seethe Queen’s visit on February 20 in 1998.

The Queen had visited the Evening Mail in its centenary year, while the Duke of Edinburgh went to the CCW American candle factory at Sandscale Park.

They later united to see activities at Barrow’s Nelson Street Centre before moving to the VSEL yard.

Ocean had been ordered for the Royal Navy on May 11 in 1993 and was launched on October 11 in 1995.

After leaving Barrow for sea trials, the ship reached a top speed of 20.6knots - 23.7mph.

Ocean could could carry up to 830 Royal Marines, four landing craft and up to 18 helicopters.

It was 203.4m (667ft) long and had a range of 8,000 miles. HMS Ocean was commissioned for Royal Navy service at Devonport, Plymouth in September 1998 and was part of the task force for Operation Telic, the UK contribution to the 2003 Iraq War.

It was Moored at Greenwich as part of the security operation for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

In December 2017 the Brazilian navy agreed to buy the ship for £84.6m and it was decommissioned from Royal Navy service on March 27 in 2018.

On August 25 in 2018 it arrived at Rio de Janeiro with a newly-trained Brazilian crew and was now called PHM Atlantico.

It rekindled a long-standing link between Brazil and the Barrow shipyard which provided it with the battleship Sao Paulo - which was launched in April 1909.

It survived two world wars and was in use for naval training until 1951 when it sank in a gale while being towed to a scrapyard in the United States.