UK: Mine Hunter HMS Pembroke Arrives Home After Three-Year Mission

UK Mine Hunter HMS Pembroke Arrives Home After Three-Year Mission

Royal Navy mine hunter HMS Pembroke arrived home to Scotland at Friday, August 31, after a three year mission to the Gulf. The crew of the high-tech mine countermeasures vessel were given a rousing welcome by over a hundred family members and well-wishers who had gathered at HM Naval Base Clyde for the occasion.

For the past three years the mine countermeasures vessel has been operating in warm Gulf waters, working alongside multinational forces during operations and exercises in the region.

And for HMS Pembroke the work didn’t stop after leaving their base in Bahrain five weeks ago. During her 7,000 mile transit home the vessel was called in to help guard a merchant ship from the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

Merchant vessel New Delhi Express found herself immobilised in pirate-infested waters on July 27 and put out an urgent call for help. The 40,000 tonne container ship suffered engine failure and was an easy target for pirates who operate in the gulf between Somalia and Yemen.

Pembroke responded to the distress call, and, along with sister ship HMS Middleton, readied her weapons to protect New Delhi Express until she could repair her engines.

Speaking of the incident, Lieutenant Commander Chris Allan, Commanding Officer of HMS Pembroke, said:

It was just a single incident in a packed deployment, but a memorable one.

The MV New Delhi Express was without power and her cargo meant she was an attractive target for pirates in the region. Both HMS Pembroke and HMS Middleton responded immediately and were happy to offer our protection.

I think what it shows is the flexibility of the mine hunting community and why the Royal Navy is as valuable today as it ever was.

 “Over 90 percent of the world’s trade is carried by sea and the UK transports nearly all of its oil and gas, and half of its food by ship.

Mine countermeasures vessels contribute to keeping the sea lanes, both at home and abroad, clear and safe.”

HMS Pembroke left her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde back in October 2009 and since then has had seven different crews. The Royal Navy operate a crew rotation system on their mine hunters, with each deployed for six to seven months at a time.

During her time in the Gulf HMS Pembroke has been at the forefront of the Royal Navy’s mine countermeasure capability in terms of experience, expertise and technology.

It is an absolute privilege to sail back into the Clyde with Pembroke and crew three,” said Lieutenant Commander Allan.

The deployment has been immensely rewarding both professionally in terms of our contribution to the ongoing mine countermeasures effort and for the challenge of the long passage home for a small ship.

The ship and the team are incredibly hard working and it is their effort which has made this deployment such a success.

Press Release, Septembar 3, 2012