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Small ship in
Cornwall in
a big Pond
liner sight
ROUGH weather. Atlantic.
THEY have a 24-hour restaurant
Never pleasant.
(plus three other eateries), eight
Rough weather. Atlantic.
bars, one theatre, a luxury spa, a
Shallow-draught, 750-tonne
nursery, two swimming pools and
minehunter. Really unpleasant.
a gym.
But it could have been so
But the 1,800 passengers on
much worse…
Ocean Village Two don’t have the
HMS Quorn’s American
world’s fastest helicopter armed
odyssey has come to an end with
to the teeth.
a near-record-breaking run across
So it was that Rattler, HMS
the North Atlantic.
Cornwall’s Lynx, roared past
The Portsmouth-based warship
the 70,000-tonne cruise ship as
is the RN’s representative with a
holidaymakers were tucking into
NATO mine warfare force which
their bacon and eggs.
left the ‘comfort’ of European
The helicopter – and its mother
waters behind to spend a couple
ship – escorted the British liner
of months exercising with the
through the Gulf of Aden as part
Americans and Canadians along
of the RN’s mission to safeguard
the Eastern Seaboard.
The last port of call on other
Despite precautions taken by
side of the ocean was the island
Ocean Village Two to protect
idyll of Bermuda. Thereafter, the
herself through the invisible
international force set a course
‘security corridor’ in the Gulf of
for the Azores.
Aden, Cornwall provided that
It is roughly 1,500 nautical
extra level of assurance.
miles from the British overseas
Around 1,000 passengers
territory to Ponta Delgada in
gathered on the top deck of
the Azores – which is a long old
the cruise ship to show their
appreciation. With camera fl ashes
… but not as long as 2,725
in abundance, the tourists were
nautical miles (obviously – Ed).
treated to a fl y past from Rattler.
Because as the Hunt-class
The waves and cheers from
ship conducted a replenishment
the passengers said it all,
somewhere in the steep Atlantick
with one happy cruiser even
(and it was steep, as some of
posting an internet blog about
Quorn’s ship’s company will
his experience, writing that
testify), the weathermen brought
grim tidings: the Azores would be
hit by severe weather right about
the time the NATO force would There is lightness...
Cornwall’s visit had made his
cruise all the more special.
“There’s nothing like the sight
of one of Her Majesty’s warships
be there.
just off to starboard to help you
The group’s Danish CO
feel safe,” said the frigate’s CO
plumped for Plan B, La Coruña
BLANKETED in snow, this appropriately offered advice on locating Improvised Explosive British Forces South Atlantic Islands, and
Cdr Johnny Ley.
in Spain instead, and a 1,500-
festive sight is the forecastle of Her Majesty’s Devices left over from the Falklands War and Gloucester’s CO Cdr Iain Lower – both of
“Providing this kind of
mile journey almost doubled to a
Ship Gloucester caught in a fl urry off South planned military exercises with the South whom laid wreaths on behalf of British Forces
maritime security is all in a day’s
13-day non-stop passage.
Georgia. Georgia government. in the region – RFA Gold Rover’s CO Capt
work. Passengers of Ocean Village
The Quorns thought it might
The Fighting G left the warmth (we use The primary focus of the visit by Gloucester Paul Minter and the government officer for
Two got to see fi rst-hand what
have been the longest single
the term loosely) of the Falklands behind and and her supporting tanker RFA Gold Rover South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands,
the Royal Navy is for and what
passage by a Hunt-class warship.
headed south to the paradisal archipelago of was to demonstrate the ability to rapidly deploy Pat Lurcock, and a smattering of locals, plus
Not quite. Back in 1982 HM
South Georgia. a joint task force anywhere within the British sailors from the two ships.
we do on their behalf every day of
Ships Brecon and Ledbury
The Portsmouth-based Type 42 destroyer territories. Gloucester’s LET Clutterbuck provided the
the year.”
were sent south to support the
sailed past wary groups of king penguins and The visit to Grytviken coincided with music, courtesy of the 96-year-old church’s
Throughout her time east of
liberation of the Falklands. They
sleepy elephant seals to anchor off Grytviken Remembrance Day – and a service in the organ. The noise emanating from said
Suez, the Fighting 99 has served
stopped just once: Ascension
(54˚17’S, 36˚30’W for the record) and take rare surroundings of the Norwegian Whalers’ instrument – and church bells – drew local
as flagship of NATO’s Standing
Island, 3,745 nautical miles from
part in exercises with the (not very numerous) Church. parishioners out of their homes (the whalers
Maritime Group 2, headed by
local populace. The service, led by Gloucester’s ‘bish’ left South Georgia nearly half a century ago),
the RN’s Cdre Steve Chick and
But back to 2009 and the end
The ship’s company helped scientists assess the Rev Mike Wagstaff RN, was attended as the worshippers found upon exiting the
his staff.
of a 2,725-mile crossing.
glacial retreat and environmental changes, by Air Cdre Gordon Moulds, Commander building.
They have directed NATO’s
Ocean Shield anti-piracy mission
“We went alongside El Ferrol for the past six months.
Naval Base with the weather still Cornwall is now done in
balmy and showing no signs of
the approaching rough weather,”
said Lt Cdr Tim Nield.
The extended crossing of
The Pond did allow for some
...and there is dark
the Gulf of Aden; Group 2 has
handed Ocean Shield duties to its
sister formation (cunningly called
Group 1...) and F99 is due home
in Devonport by Christmas.
additional training with the other
vessels in the NATO force ahead
of historic ordnance disposal
RIGHT, we’ll get the obvious one
“It’s a rare opportunity to make a survey vessel (and the RN’s sixth-largest
work in European waters – more out of the way first.
difference in this far-flung part of the vessel, but with a crew of just 52) her
Fancy meeting
typical fare for the task group – A century after one sailor carved his
world – and we’re very excited about kit’s rather different from the rest of the
for the rest of 2009. name in immortality on the frozen wastes,
it,” enthused Lt Cdr Phil Harper, Scott’s squadron.
you here...
And on the fun side, it meant there’s a new Scott of the Antarctic.
Executive Officer. “Survey recorders new to the ship need
there was more time for murder. HMS Scott has left these shores for
“We’ll help to ensure that the frozen to forget everything they have learned
AS PART of her Operational Sea
To keep the Quorns entertained terra nova – taking the place of the RN’s
continent remains unspoiled, something about conventional hydrographic surveying
Training package, HMS York paid
(and perhaps take their minds usual ice survey ship HMS Endurance
which is particularly important in this 50th and be prepared for a world of computer
a (mock) defence diplomacy
off the Atlantic swell), a rather which is awaiting repairs following a
anniversary year of the Antarctic Treaty.” monitors and plotters,” explained Lt Cdr
visit to Dartmouth.
lengthy (and bloody) game of nearly-cataclysmic flooding incident last
That treaty determined that no one nation Harper.
The harbourmaster had the
Cluedo has been played out December.
would dominate Antarctica and banned “It also comes as quite a shock to them
unenviable task of bringing the
aboard the warship. Scott’s mission, like Endurance, is to
any form of military activity. to learn that survey lines can be up to 400
York into the River Dart, turning
support the British Antarctic Survey’s work
Scott’s day job is to ensure the miles long.”
her around and seeing her
Reserves go
around the frozen continent and gather
underwater ‘highways’ are safe to navigate All raw bathymetric data – the
moored between two buoys... all
data on the southern ocean – which is
for the Silent Service as well as collecting measurement of the water’s depth – is
at dusk.
becoming increasingly busy thanks to ‘eco
general oceanographic data. processed using the CARIS survey
York played host to offi cer
down a storm
tourism’. She’s also conducting survey
The ship has recently completed a ten- processing system to ensure it is accurate
cadets from the college, giving
work on the way down south.
month refit in Portsmouth followed by and clear.
many of them their fi rst taste of a
Endurance’s loss is Scott’s gain. It’s the
trials, work-up and finally the hydrographic Scott can also trail a ‘moving vessel
GREEN berets celebrated the first time Scott’s sonar suite has been used
squadron’s version of FOST, HOST profiler multi-sensor towed array system’
York’s Commanding Offi cer
opening of their newest unit as around Antarctica, so it should throw up
(Hydrographic Operational Sea Training) (apparently it’s the CO’s ‘pride and
Cdr Simon Staley held a lunch
green berets typically celebrate: some fresh insight into what lurks beneath
to prepare for the challenges of a difficult joy’) which can analyse all manner of
party for local dignitaries,
with a bit of blood and thunder. the waves.
deployment. oceanographic variables from salinity to
As she’s our sole deep-water ocean sound speed through the water.
including BRNC’s CO Cdre Jake
Commandos from the Royal Moores and Cdre Jamie Miller,
Marines Reserves detachment Regional Commander for Wales
at Hartlepool ‘stormed’ HMS and Western England.
Mersey when the fishery ship An offi cial reception was
dropped in on the port. combined with a resource and
Hartlepool’s RMR unit was capability demonstration which
formally stood up in June and gave York a chance to show off her
officially opened at the end of abilities other than the fi ghting
October by Cdre Chris Steele, capability, including disaster
Commander Maritime Reserves. relief operations, providing
The Corps has pumped medical facilities and dealing with
£140,000 into turning part of chemical spills.
the town’s TA base in Easington The fi nal day in Dartmouth
Road into a green beret enclave. saw the ship open to visit (via
The reservist Royals, who boat transfer). Some 450 people
come under the direction of took advantage of the invitation,
RMR Tyne two dozen miles up among them one Martin Johnson.
the east coast, have been provided That’s England’s World
with classrooms, mess, offices, Cup-winning rugby star Martin
bar and store, initially with rope Johnson, the team’s head coach.
assault course and gym being He was visiting the town with
added shortly. his family for the weekend and
The aim is for up to 30 green was spotted ashore – and invited
berets to serve at the unit, aboard – by the York’s Executive
drawing not just from Hartlepool Offi cer, Lt Cdr Vince Noyce.
but also nearby Middlesbrough, York has now completed OST
Darlington and other towns and should be deploying to the
around Teeside, sparing them a South Atlantic right about now,
journey to Newcastle or Leeds –
Picture: LA(Phot) Dan Hooper, FRPU West
taking over from her sister HMS
the nearest RMR units. Gloucester.
004_NN_Dec.indd 1 20/11/09 14:17:35
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