NAVY NEWS, OCTOBER 2011
l One of Monmouth’s boarding team drops in from Black Knight, the frigate’s Lynx and (left) Somerset’s Green team searches Saudi Arabia’s HMS Taif
clocked up 28,494 miles on patrol (using up more than three million litres of fuel in the process). Her Lynx, Black Knight, was launched on 140 sorties – 208½ hours airborne or more than eight and half days.
And in the galley the chefs chopped, boiled, roasted and mashed 16,250kg of potatoes (which
of ten Ford Focuses), grilled 1,134kg of steak, fried 2,015kg of
loaves of bread – all washed down with 59,400 cups of tea. But
statistic of all: 17 hostages freed. Following an intelligence tip-off, the Black Duke closed in on a suspected pirate mothership in the Gulf of Aden.
proved well-founded. The boat ignored every warning Monmouth issued. It did not ignore a boarding party of commandos and sailors, who promptly freed 17 men held hostage – and detained several suspected pirates.
shipping in these waters, thankfully, is rather less dramatic.
Much of Monmouth’s time was spent establishing the ‘pattern of life’ on the waters of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean – understanding what is fishing vessel and what might be a pirate mother ship (because the two look pretty similar).
THAT pattern of life is about to get a whole lot busier.
The monsoon season is drawing to a close, which means the pirates, people traffickers, smugglers and drug runners will be venturing to sea, as one of
Most encounters Those suspicions the most important sausages, baked 2,280 is about the weight
the senior RN officers in the region imparted in the Red Sea. Cdre John Clink, who heads the international Coalition Task Force 150, joined F82 off Jordan as she prepared to relieve Monmouth.
ship’s company they would be “busy in the important work of counter-terrorism and counter- piracy”.
The commodore told the
Which is exactly what Monmouth said too as the two ships formally handed over duties off the historic port of Aqaba and the Black Duke passed on tips to her successor. “HMS Monmouth has done a fantastic job over the last six months,” said Somerset’s CO Cdr Paul Bristowe. “It
Somerset to take up the tasking and I have complete confidence that we are ready to
doffed caps and saluted the Black Duke.
free and safe passage of sea trade is vital.” He and his shipmates
Overall, says Monmouth’s Commanding Officer Cdr Dean Bassett, it has been “a very active and successful deployment in which every single
played an important part. “My ship’s company have given their best to ensure that Monmouth was ready for the many challenges we faced on operations, and I am immensely proud of their commitment and professionalism;
credit to The Black Duke and the Royal Navy.”
With pirate duties done, the Black Duke began the three- week journey home via one
they are a person onboard has
“During Britain’s economic recovery the
required of us. deliver what is is now time for
pitstop (Cyprus) to drop off her advance leave party (they take charge of the ship when she returns to Devonport on October 3) and two ‘post operation decompression’ visits.
The latter allow the ship’s company to relax and let their hair down after the strain of five months east of Suez. Palermo in Sicily and, more popularly, Barcelona were picked. In Catalonia, Monmouth collected PACAS (not tapas) for the final leg of her deployment: parents and children at sea, to give them a taste of life in the Black Duke... and a taste of Biscay. Meanwhile, somewheres east of Suez...
AFTER exercising with the Jordanian fast patrol boat King Abdullah, Somerset headed south
and a rendezvous with Saudi Arabia’s HMS Taif.
through the Red Sea
As a key link between Suez and the open waters of the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea is one of the world’s busiest and most important shipping lanes. So after conducting some deft handling manoeuvres, the combined crews of the Somerset and Taif (pronounced tie-eef) maximum use of their rendezvous by honing boarding drills, culminating in the Saudi ship’s captain allowing the commandos to demonstrate how they board and search, after clambering aboard from their frigate’s two sea boats. Practice over, the green
berets shared tactics with their fellow mariners.
ship’s badges and formal salute as the two frigates sailed in company, the ships went their separate ways with HMS Taif’s captain Cdr Fahad Al-Shomrani declaring it had been “a pleasure to work with the Royal Navy.” Amen to that.
After a traditional exchange of
pictures: la(phots) stu hill, frpu north, and abbie gadd, frpu east
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24
| Page 25
| Page 26
| Page 27
| Page 28
| Page 29
| Page 30
| Page 31
| Page 32
| Page 33
| Page 34
| Page 35
| Page 36
| Page 37
| Page 38
| Page 39
| Page 40
| Page 41
| Page 42
| Page 43
| Page 44
| Page 45
| Page 46
| Page 47
| Page 48