US warship pays dues to Tower of London for protection’

THE American warship USS Halyburton has docked on the Thames on an historic visit and paid paid homage’ to the Tower of London. The vessel's crew handed over the traditional barrel of rum to the Tower for protection

THE American warship USS Halyburton has docked on the Thames on an historic visit and paid paid homage’ to the Tower of London.

The vessel berthed in Millwall Docks on Friday (pictured above by Canary Wharf), ready for her crew to hand over the traditional barrel of rum on Saturday (top).

It was the first time a foreign navy has carried out the annual historic ceremony of the Constable’s Dues at The Tower of London, normally performed by the Royal Navy.

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The 453ft warship manoeuvred its way into the dock accompanied by two Thames river tugs. She positioned herself into the south lock with just inches to spare.

British Waterways’ Docklands manager Dennis Fink said: “When impressive ships such as the USS Halyburton lock into the docks from the Thames, their scale and size helps comprehend just how much water we have here.

“The docks are still very much a working water space.”

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The tradition of presenting a barrel of rum to the Constable of The Tower goes back centuries to when ships mooring on the Thames paid their dues for protection.

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