UK: HMS Shoreham Sails into Three-Year Deployment

 HMS Shoreham Sails into Three-Year Deployment

Slipping silently into the waters of the Firth of Clyde, Royal Navy mine hunter, HMS Shoreham on May 28 left her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde for a three-year deployment.

The high-tech Sandown class ship is off to join the UK task-force based in the Gulf. En route she will operate in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, giving support to a multinational task force providing security in the troubled waters.

Sailing the ship is the Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron’s Crew Four, the 38 sailors of the Royal Navy who will see the vessel safely to her destination during the two-month voyage.

The crew are due to fly back to the UK at the end of the year, but the Ship will remain in the Gulf for around three-years, alternating crews.

Commanding Officer of HMS Shoreham, Lieutenant Commander Toby Shaughnessy, said:

“Sailing today marks the culmination of a great deal of hard work and preparation by my Ship’s Company.

“Deploying from friends and loved ones for such a long time is always tough but we eagerly anticipate the challenges that the deployment will present.”

During the journey, HMS Shoreham will be accompanied by Hunt class mine hunter, HMS Atherstone, with the two ships working together on the way to conduct maritime security operations and training.

Once at their destination, Shoreham will relieve sister Sandown mine hunter, HMS Pembroke which has been based in the Gulf since 2010.

Basing Mine Counter Measures Vessels – or MCMVs – in the Gulf provides the opportunity for warm water training operations in some of the most challenging condition imaginable.

Temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius and the constant presence of sand and dust mean that the crew need to be on top form. It is a challenge which crew four are ready for, having just completed a significant period of training, including taking part in Exercise Joint Warrior off the west coast of Scotland in April this year.

Lieutenant Andrew Platt, HMS Shoreham’s Navigating Officer said:

“The testing environmental conditions of the Gulf make it an ideal location to develop our capabilities.

“Sonar performance is very different to what we have been used to during our training around Scotland, and practising there enables us to ensure we can operate wherever we are required around the globe.”

The Royal Navy’s Sandown class mine hunters are packed with the latest technology to assist the crew in disposing of the threat of mines.

The hull and large parts of the vessels’ superstructure are built from glass reinforced plastic, ensuring that the ships do not trigger magnetic mines.

The Sandowns also boast high powered sonar and the Seafox mine disposal system – an underwater remotely operated vehicle that can visually identify mines and destroy them. Also on board is a mine clearance diving team who can tackle underwater threats.

The First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1), who operate the vessels, are based at HM Naval Base Clyde and provide eight highly-trained crews to operate the seven Sandown ships.

MCM1 deploy the mine hunters in the Gulf, on NATO exercises with other nation’s navies, or around the UK coast, protecting our shores form old ordnance – the legacy of previous wars.


Naval Today Staff, May 31, 2012; Image: Royal Navy