British Navy Warships to Support Opening of Tynwald
Royal Navy warships HMS Somerset and HMS Brocklesby will be visiting the Isle of Man from Thursday, July 4, in support of the opening of Tynwald.
HMS Somerset, a 4900-tonne, Type 23 frigate will anchor in Douglas Bay on Thursday, July 4 for a three-day visit before returning to sea on Saturday. Although not open to visitors, she will be hosting a variety of visits by small groups from local societies, while her Commanding Officer, Commander Mike Smith, will host a reception and capability demonstration for invited guests and dignitaries.
HMS Brocklesby is Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV) and will be alongside at No.2 berth on Victoria Pier in Douglas from Thursday until Monday.
She will be open to visit, from 11am until 5pm on July 5, 6 and 7th.
This offers the Isle of Man public a unique opportunity to go aboard and learn more about the career opportunities in the Royal Navy, and get a glimpse of life on a warship.
Members of the ship’s company from both vessels will be taking part in the formal opening of the Tynwald ceremony on Saturday, July 6 as will Commander Smith and his counterpart on Brocklesby, Lieutenant Commander Stuart Yates. He said:
“We are very much looking forward to spending time in the Isle of Man and I hope as many local people as possible will come and see the ship for themselves during our open to visit hours.
“It is a privilege to visit Douglas and an excellent opportunity to strengthen the ties between the Royal Navy at this historic maritime island.”
Since returning from her last operational deployment in 2012, HMS Somerset has undergone an extensive upgrade to her weapons, sensors and machinery, making her even more capable.
Having rejoined the active Fleet in March 2013 the ship and crew are now undertaking Operational Sea Training (OST). This will put the Type 23 frigate to the test in every situation that a modern warship, with global reach, can possibly be expected to deal with.
Powerful and versatile with the capability to operate anywhere in the world, the Type 23 frigate is the mainstay of the modern surface fleet. The 13 Type 23 frigates form 50% of the total frigate/destroyer force in the Royal Navy.
Originally designed for the principal task of anti-submarine warfare, they have evolved into multi-purpose ships with the capability to operate anywhere in the world.
The present HMS Somerset is the fourth to bear the name and was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd in Glasgow. She was launched on 24 June 1994 on the Clyde by Lady Elspeth Layard, wife of the then Second Sea Lord Admiral Sir Michael Layard, and commissioned on 20 September 1996.
HMS Brocklesby recently took part in the first Exercise Joint Warrior of 2013, a multi-national exercise held bi-annually in UK waters with allied nations and their armed forces, in company with HMS Hurworth, HMS Pembroke and HMS Grimsby.
HMS Brocklesby is one of eight Hunt-class MCMVs based in Portsmouth. Built by Vosper Thornycroft from glass re-inforced plastic, she was launched in 1982 and commissioned 13 months later.
The third ship to bear the name, she won her most recent battle honours clearing sea-lanes in to Umm Qasr in Iraq during Operation Telic in 2003.
Press Release, July 1 2013; Image: Royal Navy