UK: New Crew Takes Helm of HMS Bangor
HMS Bangor, the Clyde-based mine hunter, underwent a change of crews recently when crew one from the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1) took the helm of the sophisticated warship.
The Royal Navy’s mine hunters are in high demand for operations and exercises around the globe and this means that the navy operate a crew rotation system.
MCM1 has eight highly trained crews to man their seven Sandown class mine hunters and on May 3 crew eight handed over to their crew one colleagues after two years operating the ship.
Stepping off the bridge for the last time, outgoing Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Matt Moore, said:
“The crew takes a lot of pride in HMS Bangor – for two years it has been their place of work and their home.
“A lot of hard work, time and effort has gone into the ship by crew eight and handing her over to another crew can bring a lump to your throat – I suppose it’s a bit like handing over your baby.
“But I know that crew one will take fantastic care of the ship and I know the incoming Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Rich Hutchings, very well, as we both joined the Royal Navy together in 1996. In that respect I suppose it’s more like handing your baby over to your uncle. An older uncle, of course,” he joked.
In June last year, HMS Bangor was deployed off Libya as part of the NATO operation known as Unified Protector. The ship’s job was to protect Libyan citizens under the threat of attack and to keep the sea lanes clear to the country’s vital ports.
During the mission the vessel found a 2,400 pound (1,000kg) mine and a torpedo lying on the seabed off the Libyan port of Tobruk. Both were safely destroyed by HMS Bangor using the ship’s Sea Fox system – an underwater drone armed with explosive charges.
The vessel now sports two shadowy silhouettes on her hull to mark the achievement – one of a mine and the other of a torpedo.
“Crew one are keen to take over HMS Bangor and proud to continue her work,” said Lieutenant Commander Hutchings, the new Commanding Officer.
“This will be the third ship in 13 months for the crew. In April last year they were operating HMS Blyth during operational sea training and during Exercise Joint Warrior. Then after that we were with HMS Pembroke spending seven months in the Gulf.
“Most recently we have been what is known as ‘Conniston’ crew,” he continued.
“This is the part of the rotation that we spend at home and use to undertake professional courses and most importantly spend time with our families.
“The operational tempo of mine hunters is extremely high and it is important to give our crews time to re-balance and take some well-earned leave.”
HM Naval Base Clyde is home of the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron and base port to seven Sandown class mine hunters.
The staff and ships of MCM1 are deployed around the world – from patrolling the Gulf to exercising with our NATO allies to protect our shores from old ordnance, the legacy of previous wars.
Naval Today Staff , May 18, 2012; Image: Royal Navy