UK: HMS Diamond Demonstrates Royal Navy’s Expertise in Board, Search

HMS Diamond Demonstrates Royal Navy's Expertise in Board, Search

HMS Diamond demonstrated the Royal Navy’s expertise in board and search when she joined forces with Emirati allies for exercises in the Gulf. The new destroyer linked up with the UAE frigate Murayjib for Exercise Falcon Warrior, laying on a comprehensive boarding exercise involving her Lynx and specially-trained Royal Marines/Royal Navy boarding team.

This is a Royal Marines Commando tentatively peering up a ladder, weapon at the ready – and a camera fixed to his helmet to record any evidence should his boarding team find anything untoward.

He shouldn’t – because this is a training exercise as new destroyer HMS Diamond demonstrated her boarding expertise with the United Arab Emirates frigate Murayjib in the Gulf – one part of a larger international training exercise, Falcon Warrior.

Officers from the UAE Navy were welcomed aboard the Portsmouth-based warship, currently into the second half of her six-month maiden deployment to the Gulf region.

They received a brief from the ship’s company on what Britain’s newest operational Type 45 destroyer can do and a brief on the Royal Navy’s practice of boarding operations.

In a typical boarding scenario Diamond’s Lynx helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron appears overhead and circles as the destroyer bears down on a suspect vessel.

As Diamond draws near, her sea boats are put into the water, racing to the target at 40kts, carrying the mixed Royal Marines/Royal Navy boarding team.

Diamond remains close and the helicopter provides additional protection in the form of a commando sniper team and heavy machine gun.

If the teams are required to board a suspect vessel, they do so in accordance with international law and carry out a search for evidence of illegal activity, questioning the crew in an effort to combat smuggling, piracy and other criminal activities on the high seas.

The cameras worn by some of the boarding team are akin to those carried by Royal Navy police and civilian constabularies back in the UK; they provide a record of an investigation which can be used later in any criminal proceedings – and also should suspects make a claim against the sailors or marines.

All of which (apart from the very last bit) was played out on Falcon Warrior.

“We demonstrated how the Royal Navy and Royal Marines conduct boarding and our Emirati colleagues shared their first-hand local knowledge to enhance our understanding of the area,” said Cdr Ian Clarke, Diamond’s Commanding Officer.

“These exercises are essential in ensuring that ships of the Combined Maritime Forces can all work together effectively with a common understanding of procedures.”

Those Combined Maritime Forces Cdr Clarke alludes to operate three task forces with upwards of two dozen warships and support vessels provided by 27 nations scouring the waters of the Gulf, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean determined to stamp out piracy, smuggling, drug running, people trafficking and any other nefarious activities.

Diamond is due to complete her maiden deployment in time to return to Portsmouth before Christmas.

Naval Today Staff, October 12, 2012; Image: Royal Navy