HMS Ramsey Arrives at King Abdullahaziz Naval Base in Jubail

HMS Ramsey Visits King Abdullahaziz Naval Base in Jubail

Faslane-based minehunter, HMS Ramsey, had the honour of berthing alongside a fellow Sandown class minehunter, owned by the Royal Saudi Naval Force, during a recent visit to Jubail.

During her visit to King Abdullahaziz Naval Base, Ramsey tied up alongside the UK-built vessel, purchased by the Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF), in the 1990s and also undertook exercises with her.

Upon arrival Lt Cdr Richard Hutchings, Ramsey’s Commanding Officer, accompanied United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander, Cdre Simon Ancona, on a number of official calls including the RSNF’s Eastern Fleet Commander, Admiral Ibraheem Nasir Al-Maghlouth.

Whilst the official calls were taking place, Ramsey’s engineering department were visited by some of the BAE team working on the mid-life update of the Saudi minehunter. This cooperation allowed Ramsey’s engineers to assist with the RSNF’s modernisation programme, which is fitting the already-capable Sandowns with the latest technology available.

Ramsey was privileged to receive the Commodore of the RSNF Mine Warfare group, Cdre Zaid Al Khabiri, onboard for a tour and to express his views on future maritime technologies.

Sailing in company with RSNF Ship HMS Al-Shaqra after two days alongside, the two Ships carried out a number of training exercises including Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres – a series of close-quarters ship-handling exercises at high speeds in different formations.

Whilst all this excitement was taking place above water dive teams from each Ship dived together on a local reef, allowing the two groups of divers to find out about each others’ specialist equipment.

Ramsey’s Navigator, Sub Lt Phil Fordham, said:

“The opportunity to exercise with the RSNF is superb. Saudi Arabia is an important regional partner for the UK and we look forward to building further upon the individual relationships forged during this valuable visit and hopefully an invitation to return to their fantastic Naval Base.”

With a crew of 40, the Sandown class is considered one of the best mine counter measure vessels in the world. At 52m long, with a beam of 10m, RAMSEY’s key equipment includes a variable depth high definition sonar, remote controlled camera-toting submersibles and a team of clearance divers, trained to dispose of mines by fitting explosives.

Her special Voith-Schnieder propulsion units and large bow thrusters make RAMSEY a highly manoeuvrable vessel, whose cruising speed is 12 knots. Her 30mm gun, general purpose machine guns and Mk 44 Miniguns mean she is more than capable of protecting herself if attacked.

These weapons, along with her sensors, highly trained ship’s company and rigid inflatable seaboats enable her to survey the sea bed, hunting for mines whilst also providing maritime security duties almost anywhere in the world.

Naval Today Staff, April 4, 2013; Image: Royal Navy