Royal Navy’s HMS Pembroke readies for NATO deployment

Royal Navy’s Sandown-class minehunter HMS Pembroke has been training off the west coast of Scotland for the past two weeks preparing to join NATO’s Standing Mine Counter Measures Group 1.

Crew 1 from the Royal Navy’s Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1) have been putting the ship through its paces in Scottish exercise areas.

Overseen and assessed by staff from the Royal Navy’s training organisation – Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) – Pembroke and her crew have practiced fire and flood drills, salvage exercises, medical training, gunnery and mine hunting.

On February 18 the Sandown Class Mine Counter Measures Vessel (MCMV) faced its biggest challenge yet when the crew had to fight off simulated attacks from the air and sea.

A Falcon aircraft flew overhead to provide the air threat, while training ship, the Smit Towy, conducted a mock attack from the water.

The exercise scenario called for HMS Pembroke to take damage and the crew sprang into action to practice stopping floods, fire-fighting and medical skills.

HMS Pembroke is set to deploy to the Baltics in April and will join NATO allies as part of SNMCMG1, or Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1.

The ship previously served with the group January last year when she spent four-months with the German, Dutch, Polish and Belgian navies.

During this deployment HMS Pembroke helped locate nine Second World War bombs, torpedoes and mines, and later went on to tackle a 500lb bomb in the North Sea. She returned home to HM Naval Base Clyde on April 23, 2015.