For the next few days, a very rare sight can be seen in Canary Wharf – a submarine. While it is not that unusual for navy ships to visit the docks for a goodwill visit, this is the first time a submarine has visited since I have lived here.

As befits its somewhat submersed nature, the boat is not that visually impressive compared to say a frigate turning up, or a cruise ship – but it’s certainly an unusual sight nonetheless.

The HNLMS Bruinvis is a Walrus-class submarine, and is also the only submarine class currently in operation in the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Useful during the Cold War for being some of the few NATO submarines that were blue water diesel-electric submarines in service. After the Cold War, they have been tasked with many intelligence gathering operations (still classified) in the Yugoslavian region, Iraq and the Caribbean.

There are about 50 sailors and officers on board, and they are here on a goodwill visit until Friday morning when they depart home for Christmas.

HNLMS Bruinvis in Canary Wharf

HNLMS Bruinvis in Canary Wharf

HNLMS Bruinvis in Canary Wharf

HNLMS Bruinvis in Canary Wharf

HNLMS Bruinvis in Canary Wharf

HNLMS Bruinvis in Canary Wharf


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  1. Michael Haji says:

    Times like this I wish I was working in Canary Wharf still! We never get anything cool visit us in Croydon 🙁

  2. Dave K says:

    Any idea when on the 21st its leaving?, I don’t fancy belting to London just to find it’s left before I get there!

    • IanVisits says:

      You can usually calculate unusual ship movements by checking tide charts. In this situation, high tide is around 7am, so that’s when I would expect it to leave.

    • Serafiina says:

      It just left 30min a go.

  3. Dave K says:

    Thank you – doubt I can get there in time, pity. Thanks for the interesting report.

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