UK: HMS Westminster Starts Four Weeks of Intensive Training off South Coast


HMS Westminster has begun four weeks of intensive training off the South Coast as she prepares for a challenging deployment in the new year to tackle criminal activity on the oceans. The Portsmouth-based frigate faced some rough seas off Plymouth as she conducted a replenishment at sea to transfer supplies in the opening hours of that training.

This is Her Majesty’s Ship Westminster ploughing through pretty choppy waters off the South Coast as she conducts a replenishment at sea – bread and butter to any Royal Navy warship deploying around the world.

Which is exactly what the Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate is doing right now – her 200 or so souls are ‘enjoying’ four weeks of ‘Directed Continuation Training’ or DCT off Plymouth.

DCT is bespoke training offered to ships about to conduct a specific mission. In the case of Westminster, she’s due to deploy in the new year on maritime security operations, tackling all forms of illegal activity on the high seas.

That shouldn’t come as too big a shock to the Westminster men and women; they deployed at very short notice earlier this year to enforce the arms embargo imposed on the Gaddafi regime and support UN Security Council resolutions during the open stages of the civil war in Libya.

That was six months ago, however, so time for some key ‘top-up training’. Before the ‘capital ship’ could even contemplate getting down to that instruction, however, she first had to prove that the frigate and all who sail in her were materially safe and ready to train.

There were 68 assessors from the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation embarked – roughly one FOSTie for every three members of the ship’s company – and every inch of the ship was subjected to intense scrutiny.

The FOST team were evidently impressed – and determined Westminster could begin her pre-deployment training in earnest.

Now it is up to the ship’s company to build upon the standards displayed at this early stage and maintain that progression until the day of the final inspection and completion of training on November 3.

Commanding Officer, Captain Nick Hine, said:

“My ship’s company are keen to get going on this demanding, but professionally-satisfying period of training.”

“We deploy next year and Operational Sea Training will hone our skills to ensure that we are confident to meet whatever awaits us.”

Source: royalnavy, October 12, 2011