Royal Navy’s Lyme Bay takes over as minehunter support ship in the Gulf

Royal Navy support vessel RFA Lyme Bay has begun her mission as the afloat forward support base to allied minehunters in the Gulf with a two-week Anglo-American workout.

The Falmouth-based vessel arrived in the Middle East to take over from her sister ship Cardigan Bay, which spent three years providing fuel, food, spare parts and ammunition to mine warfare forces operating out of Bahrain.

The ships do their job via a process known as ‘rafting up’ – berthing alongside minehunters in the mid-ocean with giant fenders to prevent the vessels damaging each other.

To put her to the test as the afloat forward support base (the official term for ‘mother ship’) – and to give the minehunters a bit of a workout too – all four of the Royal Navy’s force in Bahrain, HMS Penzance, Middleton, Chiddingfold and Bangor, plus two US Navy Avenger-class vessels, USS Sentry and Gladiator, put to sea for a fortnight.

Over those two weeks RFA Lyme Bay passed a total of 4,500 rounds of assorted ammunition, 50 tonnes of fuel and various assorted stores to the four UK MCMs.

“Training opportunities like this have provided RFA Lyme Bay with the chance to refine our rafting skills and demonstrate that she is ready in all respects to carry out her duties as the afloat forward support base in the Gulf,” said Lyme Bay’s Commanding Officer Capt Paul Minter.