Hartlepool’s HMS Trincomalee becomes oldest warship afloat in the world

HMS Trincomalee
HMS Trincomalee

A historic vessel has become the oldest warship afloat in the world - but it is only a temporary title.

HMS Trincomalee in Hartlepool has gained the honour after it was announced that the USS Constitution has been moved to dry dock until 2017 for her first major restoration in more than 20 years.

USS Constitution first went to sea in 1797 while HMS Trincomalee first set sail twenty years later in 1817.

The Hartlepool-based ship was the last of Lord Nelson’s frigates, and her roles included fighting for the British Empire in the Far East and participating in the fight against slavery. Her travels also include Alaska, the Pacific and the West Indies.

David McKnight, General Manager of HMS Trincomalee, said: “Trincomalee is a wonderful elder lady of the sea who certainly has some tales to tell of life on the high seas.

“She is a very prominent and iconic landmark in Hartlepool whom the people of the area and indeed the region have taken to their hearts.”