HMS Blyth Embarks on Six Month NATO Deployment in the Mediterranean

HMS Blyth Embarks on Six Month NATO Deployment in the Mediterranean

Following six months of preparation and training, Royal Navy mine hunter, HMS Blyth ”left the wall” on Friday, June 29, from her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde to start her journey to the Mediterranean for a six month NATO deployment.

The highly equipped Sandown class ship is off to join a NATO task force carrying out mine counter measures exercises and operations in both the Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Sailing the ship is the Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron’s Crew 2, the 40 sailors of the Royal Navy who will see the vessel safely around the Mediterranean and Black Sea on their many Exercises and important port visits.

The Ship and is due to sail back to the UK mid-December in time for the crew to spend Christmas at home with their families.

Commanding Officer of HMS Blyth Lieutenant Commander Tim Davey, said:

“Today marks the culmination of six months hard work and preparation allowing us to deploy on time and ready for our tasking. I’m very proud of my team who are up for the challenges ahead and keen to make a significant contribution to NATO operations.”

During the deployment, HMS Blyth will be accompanied by mine hunters from their NATO partners including the German, Italian, Spanish and Turkish Navies, with the ships working together to conduct maritime security and training.

The deployment also provides an opportunity for the Royal Navy Warship to work with both the Romanian and Bulgarian Navies whilst in the Black Sea, which promises to be a very interesting period of training.

Having NATO Mine Counter Measure Vessels working together in the Mediterranean allows for these countries to exchange Mine Counter Measures knowledge and assures their ability to work together as a task force and be ready for any NATO contingent tasking.

Throughout the deployment the crew will need to be on top form and at high readiness. It is a challenge they 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 Hamish Maxwell, HMS Blyth’s Navigating Officer said:

The Mediterranean provides a testing and different environment to what the ships company have experienced in Scotland, which makes it an ideal location for us to develop our capabilities. Recently Royal Navy mine hunter, HMS Ledbury, with support of the Italian Navy, located and disposed of a World War Two sea mine off the coast of Italy demonstrating the importance of the work being done by NATO mine hunters in the region.”

The focus of Commanding Officer, and his team, is to maintain the fighting and warfare capabilities of the ship, whilst working closely with their NATO allies. Ongoing training, operational practices and intensive exercises will ensure that HMS Blyth will be able to make best use of her onboard sensors and weapons wherever she is called upon to operate.

Naval Today Staff , July 2, 2012; Image: Royal Navy