UK: HRH The Princess Royal Visits RFA Mounts Bay
HRH The Princess Royal took time out from her busy schedule supporting London 2012 Olympic events nationwide to visit members of the Maritime Security Forces who have been providing the safety net and protective screen around the Olympic sailing venue across 50 square mile of Dorset’s coastline and airspace for the past few weeks.
Accompanied by her husband Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, the couple initially visited the combined military and police diving unit who have scoured the seabed, ports and pontoons across the wide expanse of the bay in the run up to the games and witnessed the sophisticated sonar technology used today to detect and investigate potential underwater threats.
The Royal couple, dressed in Team GB Olympic uniform jackets were then formally welcomed to Royal Fleet Auxiliary Mounts Bay by the Ship’s Captain Kevin Rimell RFA, in command of the towering Amphibious Logistics Vessel berthed securely within Portland Port.The ship is the vital logistics hub for many military and police units supporting the Police led Maritime security operation. With a huge dock inside the ship, flight deck and capacity to accommodate hundreds of personnel on board, the ship is providing a busy, versatile port within a port from which hundreds of police and military boats crews are deploying each day out onto the waters of the bay.
During the visit many serving members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary were introduced to the Princess Royal and her husband and enjoyed time spent talking about the operation on the bridge of the Ship, where the Princess admired the panoramic grandstand vista of the harbour offered from the unusually wide screen windows and high vantage point of the bridge. Chatting informally to chefs, engineers and logistics officers, she stopped to speak many including RFA Chefs Stuart Ellston and Scott Hamilton having recognizing the Submariner’s brooch on their chef’s whites.
Moving to the Flight deck after a whistle stop tour inside the ship the Royal Couple then spent time chatting with many members of the Royal Navy’s Flagship HMS Bulwark, including the Executive Officer Cdr Kevin Rowlands, Aircrew, Royal Marines and sailors who had travelled ashore from their Command and Control ship out in the bay in a landing craft to greet the Royal Visitor.
HRH Princess Royal was in relaxed spirits, and the sailors who met her shared her delight with the current outstanding performance of Team GB. The couple also met several the Ship’s Company of the Royal Navy Patrol Vessels HMS Tracker and HMS Smiter, soldiers from the Port Logistics regiment, Royal Marines and police serving together as one team to provide that extra layer of defensive strength, should it be required to stop any disruption to the Games. Fortunately, the operation has run very smoothly allowing Olympic athletes to enjoy their sailing performances at the peak of their careers without any disruption owing to the comprehensive planning that took place to achieve the effective protective cover.
The Princess Royal is the British representative in the International Olympic Committee. She took part in London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and is now a member of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
Naval Today Staff, August 9, 2012; Image: Royal Navy