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NAVY NEWS, FEBRUARY 2009 5
Dhabi meeting
THERE are sounds you
And there’s a clue in the title: and make sure everyone knew you care to point to on a chart,
● HMS Lancaster – as seen from her sister HMS Portland – is
traditionally associate
‘self’, as in ‘do it your...’ what to do in the unlikely event of ready at a moment’s notice, with
silhouetted against the imposing Abu Dhabi skyline
with Christmas.
“We knew when we left our an emergency. a single command: to go to action
Picture: LA(Phot) Alex Cave, FRPU East
base port of Portsmouth that Oh yes, did we forget to say that and deal with the eventuality as
Carols from King’s. The Queen
there were just the odd one or two one fi fth of the junior rate manning it happens. It just happens that It’s a short hop between the two
standing next to a roaring fireside
some ship’s badges (which seems
things to get done – and that’s not had also swapped over during HMS Lancaster is ‘it’ in the ports (about 300 miles) and one
wishing her subjects all the best.
a very fair exchange to us...).
taking into consideration the spell in Abu Dhabi Gulf.” not typically requiring a
The Pope doing likewise
Christmas for the duo was
the sand ingested, the – a major executive and She is ‘it’ – but not top-up of fuel.
(minus the roaring fire)
spent alongside in Bahrain
effect of the heat and salt logistical headache in for much longer; HMS But when in Rome...
to the masses in St Peter’s
(two degrees Celsius
on the deck and ship’s itself? Richmond is due to With the huge USNS
Square. A plasticine
cooler than in Abu Dhabi)
sides, and the general SMP complete, and relieve the Red Rose Lewis and Clark
Northerner giving
and despite enjoying
wear and tear inside the with the Gulf sun shortly. (similar to the RFA’s
his endorsement:
all the usual festivities
ship after four months refl ecting off her Meanwhile, near Forts) bimbling
“Cracking toast,
– secret Santa, raffle,
of deployment,” resplendent new Bahrain... around the southern
Gromit.” Jimmy
decorations, turkey –
explained WO2 Dave paintwork, HMS One half of the Gulf, it would be
Stewart running
the ships were at 12
Plant. Lancaster has once RN minehunting rude not to pay her
through the snow-
hours’ notice to move.
“The boys have more sailed for the force in the Gulf, a visit.
covered streets of
Their two-year-
done well – they Northern Gulf – Sandowns HMS At 40,000 tonnes
Bedford Falls yelling:
plus stint in the Gulf
worked incredibly spending New Year’s Ramsey and Blyth, has the floating filling
“Merry Christmas,
is almost at an end,
hard over the Christmas Eve on patrol. also been in Abu Dhabi station displaces more
movie house!” Perhaps
however. Pembroke and
period to sustain the ship As she departed the – although somewhat earlier than 60 times Ramsey
even Steve McQueen
Grimsby are due to replace
into the New Year. There emirate, her younger sister HMS in December. and Blyth’s weight (in fact,
revving up his motorbike to
them any day, with Blyth and
were only four ‘Lazy Sunday’ Portland arrived, taking a break The two mine countermeasures the stores ship carries as much
jump those fences.
Ramsey returning to the (slightly)
routines – and two of those were from her ‘freedom of the high seas’ ships popped into the metropolis fuel as a Type 23 displaces).
Hammers, chisels and other
cooler climes of Faslane.
for the festive celebrations mission in the Indian Ocean. during work with the UAE, then Both RN vessels moored
implements which go bang, clang
“Don’t ever say that I said it, So with the minimum of fuss made for Bahrain, the hub of RN alongside the Lewis and Clark and marina On Christmas patrol with
and clatter probably don’t enter
but it was impressive to see their and celebration over the Christmas naval operations in the Gulf. took fuel on board in return for
HMS Portland, pages 14-15
into it.
pride to get the job done.” period, and with New Year itself
But as the waft of roast turkey,
In fact the senior rate has been spent as another operational day of
gravy and sprouts (the Devil’s
more than modest in relating the vigilance around the oil platforms,
vegetable – Assistant Ed) began
success of the SMP. Lancaster is positioned once again
to drift through the hallowed
Apart from all engines being up the sharp end of the Northern
passageways and compartments of
stripped down and cleaned, Gulf.
HMS Lancaster, it wasn’t just the
there was a good deal of general Mind you, one thing had
chefs (sorry, logisticians (catering
maintenance, changing defective changed by the time the frigate
services (preparation))) at work.
parts that had been ‘made good’ reached the tip of the Gulf again.
No, even if Christmas Day was
by the engineers over the past Combined Task Force 158
not ‘a day like any other’, then
four months, on top of an almost (which safeguards the terminals)
nor was it a day without work
complete repainting of the upper is now Combined Task Force Iraqi
for the ship’s company of HMS
deck and cleaning of many of the Maritime. Not exactly snappy, but
Lancaster.
main engineering and habitable at least we won’t confuse it with
The frigate spent December 25
spaces onboard. task forces 150 (Indian Ocean)
in Abu Dhabi (a balmy 23˚C)
The ship’s efforts were supported and 152 (southern Gulf) any
taking a break from patrolling by the arrival of containers from more.
Iraq’s oil platforms – but not a the UK carrying all their essential Name change or not, the
break from work. spares for the remainder of the mission remains constant: don’t
Having operated in the shallow, deployment. let anyone blow up the terminals
hot, saline waters of the Northern But with all this work, was there which generate nine-tenths of
Gulf for four months – and in any doubt that Lancaster might Iraq’s wealth.
spite of the enormous effort that not sail on time and resume her “It doesn’t matter on the time
went into cleaning and painting platform patrols? WO Plant gave a of year, the public holidays, the
the upper deck for the high-profi le wry smile (that might be a yes!). day of the week, the hour of the
task of escorting the QE2 into her Sail on time the Queen’s ship day,” said Surg Lt Nic ‘The Doc’
new home of Dubai in November (Her Majesty is the Duke of Dodds, the ship’s, er, doc. ROYAL NAVY SUBMARINES
– the Red Rose was in much need Lancaster...) did, and with a ‘fast “There will be and always is
of some TLC, offi cially known as a cruise’ on the last harbour day to a British warship close to any
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Work for Echo to ’pore over
FOR much of the past four or fi ve months, ABs Castles and Broadhead had great fun
Singapore has become a second home to the (we’re told) dressing in dry suits and jumping
£40.00
men and women of HMS Echo. into the water to fi x the tide pole to the side of
+ £3.00 P&P
And as long-term guests, well it’s only fair that the basin.
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you help around the house. Needed next was horizontal control for
The skills and hi-tech kit held by the the thethe survey by determining the GPS
survey ship (on a five-year hydrographic hic ppositions and heights of four pros eviously-
deployment, mainly east of Suez) wereree eestablished benchmarks (to an accuracy st
used to provide the very latest information ion oof 2mm).f 2
on the state of the waters around the e Not all the work was done in the
wharves at Sembawang. water, however. Echo’s survey team
Although the yard has long since planted RTK (Real Time Kinematic)
ceased to be a Royal Navy base, GPS systems on the jetties and
Britain still has dedicated wharves shores around Sembawang to
Models include A Class, U Class, T Class, P&O Class and Swiftsure Class.
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Before the survey could begin in in MMotor Boat Pathfi nder to collect reams
Skytrex Ltd, Unit 1 Charnwood Business Park, North Road, Loughborough,
earnest, the Echoers had to install a tide of data in the basin and approaches.
pole in the basin and compare readings over That information was turned into 3D sonar
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0005_NN_Feb.indd 105_NN_Feb.indd 1 220/1/09 14:56:280/1/09 14:56:28
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