New Commanding Officer aboard HMS Bulwark

The Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship, HMS Bulwark, has welcomed her new commanding officer. Captain Nick Cooke-Priest assumed command of the Plymouth-based amphibious assault ship from Captain Dean Bassett.

He joins at a particularly intensive time as the ship prepares for the forthcoming period of operational sea training off the South West coast to maintain her at the highest state of readiness for any tasking on behalf of the UK.

One of the most intensive duties the ship will be engaged on is the annual amphibious task group deployment Cougar 2015.

Captain Cooke-Priest began his Royal Naval service in 1990, spending his early years as a Lynx Helicopter observer before further specialising as a warfare officer. His previous commands include the Type 23 frigates, HMS Kent and HMS Iron Duke. He deployed in HMS Iron Duke to the Arabian Gulf prior to conducting naval gunfire support missions into Libya in 2011.

Captain Bassett departs to assume a new post in the Ministry of Defence in London.

HMS Bulwark is one of the Royal Navy’s two assault command and control ships. She has a crew of 320, a quarter of whom are made up from 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines. The ship can also carry up to 200 Royal Marines in dedicated accommodation for long periods and another 500 for short periods.

Her flight deck can accommodate two Chinook or two Merlin helicopters. A large floodable dock holds four large landing craft – with another four carried on the ship’s side.

Image: Royal Navy