UK: HMS Penzance Returns to Sea

HMS Penzance Returns to Sea

HMS Penzance is in the throes of demanding training after completing a six-month revamp in Rosyth.

The Faslane-based warship is now Britain’s most up-to-date minehunter following the refit, which prepared her for impending duties with a NATO task group.

After six months in refit – four of those out of the water – HMS Penzance is back in the water and undergoing training as Britain’s most up-to-date minehunter.

The Faslane-based ship hasn’t been to sea since last December, during which time the team at Rosyth hauled her out of the water and beavered away on the hull away from the elements in the refit shed.

The team there overhauled the ship’s engines and glass fibre hull, enhanced her minehunting kit and fitted the RN-wide DII computer system which makes it easier for sailors to communicate and do admin wherever they are in the world.

After the 500-tonne ship had been inspected by Cdr Jim Byron, 1st Mine Counter-Measures Squadron’s Commanding Officer, and given the thumbs, it was time to take Penzance back to sea for initial trials and testing machinery.

“Emerging from refit is a challenging but exciting time for any ship’s company. It’s the opportunity for us to get back to sea, to take ownership of our ship once again, and to prepare for our operational tasking later this year,”

said Lt Cdr Nick Unwin, Penzance’s CO.

“I took command of Penzance two months ago and in that time the transformation has been incredible – from a building site surrounded by scaffolding to a warship at sea, training and preparing for the autumn. All credit to my ship’s company and the Babcock team for their hard work.”

Right now, the ship’s company are being tested to the limit by the Flag Officer Sea Training organisation who will determine whether they’re ready to take the 172ft ship on deployment later this year.

“There are many new faces aboard, and with a very short period between sea trials, Operational Sea Training and deployment, we’re using all the available time to prepare ourselves for FOST’s finest and provide a worked up warship to the Fleet Commander,”

said Lt Cdr Unwin.

Penzance is due to take her place in the German-led NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2, currently ranging the Mediterranean, with HMS Ledbury acting as the UK’s participant. It’s something AB(MW) Bradley Cotton is geared up for.

“Travelling around the Mediterranean and being able to do live mine hunting is exactly why I joined the Royal Navy.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of not only putting my training into action, but also getting to visit places and see parts of the world I would probably never have been able to otherwise.”

Press Release, June 26, 2013; Image: Royal Navy