A ROYAL Navy training ship is to be relocated to the Capital in a bid to encourage more students to sign up for a life on the ocean waves.
The HMS Archer, a training vessel for university students, will be relocated to Edinburgh on September 28 after spending the last 20 years in Aberdeen and will be renamed the East of Scotland University Royal Naval Unit.
Navy bosses have sanctioned the move in the hope of attracting new members to the unit from the city’s large student population.
Crew members will join with Royal Navy recruiters in visiting freshers fairs and campuses across the city ahead of the start of the 2012-13 academic year.
Training provided by the unit, from navigation and seamanship, to man-overboard exercises and helicopter winching, is said to have contributed to the successful careers of many Aberdeen academics, including mariners.
Prior to its relocation, the unit boasted 58 student members.
Initially the P2000 class ship will be stationed at Rosyth with a view to a more permanent home in Leith later in the year.
Edinburgh North and Leith MSP Malcolm Chisholm said: “I welcome the relocation of this vessel to the Capital. The area has a long and proud maritime tradition. There are also many new exciting things happening in the area and I’m glad that this is being added to with the arrival of HMS Archer.
“I am sure that the unit will attract a lot of new members to its ranks from the city’s large student population.”
The Aberdeen Universities’ Royal Navy Unit (AURNU), set up in 1967, was one of the first of its kind in the UK.
With a maximum speed of 12 knots, the ship is still capable of carrying heavy weaponry and being used in active warfare.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: “Edinburgh offers more sheltered waters in which to conduct sea training weekends, and allows easy access to a wider variety of destinations during those weekends.
“Additionally, Edinburgh has a larger number of universities from which to recruit, which supports the URNU mission of providing a Royal Navy experience to a wide audience.”
Weekend training will take place around the Firth of Forth and the east coast. Deployments in the Easter and summer holidays venture further afield. In the past, HMS Archer has visited ports in the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and the Baltic.
The vessel is permanently crewed by five Royal Navy personnel, captained by Lieutenant Michael Hutchison.
Its new location will also allow for assignments from the Naval Regional Command and the Flag Officer, Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland.