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Bang go the
THE year should end with a
Contacts in context
bang, don’t you think?
The men of HMS Quorn
certainly do. So they did. A big
The Hunt-class ship is in the
throes of a fi ve-month NATO
010 begins where 2009
international law, particularly the UN deployment which has seen her
began for HMS Lancaster
Convention on the Law of the Sea. working on both sides of the
– east of Suez.
The Portsmouth-based Type 23 has already Atlantic.
carried out several boardings of vessels – Quorn spent September and
Twelve months ago, the Red Rose
some ‘reassurance visits’ to say ‘hello’ to local October working off the Eastern
frigate was safeguarding Iraq’s oil
fishermen and merchant sailors, lawfully plying Seaboard of the USA, including
their trade in difficult waters. Interspersed with visiting New York for 9/11
The curtain rises on the new
these legitimate sailors are the suspicious ceremonies.
decade 1,000 miles or so to the
ones – ‘contacts of interest’. She returned to European
south in the Gulf of Aden.
When not carrying out boardings for real, waters in November, conducting
Lancaster has joined the
the ship’s mixed Royal Marines/Royal Navy a near-3,000-mile passage to
international counter-piracy
boarding party has been practising them (as avoid Atlantic storms, since when
mission in waters between
pictured here by LA(Phot) Tel Boughton of Fleet she’s focused her attentions on
Yemen and Somalia, although
Regional Photographic Unit East). real, rather than practice, mines in
her deployment will also take
Real or Ersatz boardings demand the same the Kattegat.
her eventually into the Gulf of
disciplines and alertness by boarding parties, The waters between Denmark
Oman and the Arabian Sea.
helicopter crews, bridge and ops room teams, and Sweden were either sown
Although piracy – or rather
RIB drivers, upper deck sentries and so on. with minefi elds or peppered with
stopping it – is the tag which
And they’re all played out in the same discarded ordnance by aircraft
grabs the media headlines,
demanding climatic conditions. returning from bombing raids
Lancaster’s mission is about
Ship’s doctor Surg Lt Jonathan Evans has to between 1939 and 1945.
far more than ‘just’ choking
constantly remind those exposed to the heat DANEX 09 (DANish EXercise
(not literally) the brigands.
to drink at least one litre of water every hour 09) was the latest effort to deal
As sister ship HMS
and wear sun cream. with the detritus of confl ict – but
Portland discovered
Before entering the Indian Ocean, Lancaster the Danish organisers of the war
on her 2008-09 patrol
paid a visit to the Saudi city of Jeddah – the games also threw in a little extra
to these same waters,
fi rst RN vessel to do so in nearly two years. ‘fun’: a little gunnery against
far more of the time is
The ship hosted a reception for 140 local and remote-controlled targets and
spent attempting to
international dignitaries, diplomatic offi cials damage control.
stop general illegal
from the UK, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq The exercise ended with the
activities: people/
and the Republic of Korea, representatives from demise of a 700kg WW2 Mk25
drugs trafficking (the
British industry and Saudi military offi cers. mine, blown up by the Quorn
latter is linked with
Lancaster will remain deployed until May team (pictured above in case you
insurgent activity in
– which for most of her ship’s company has were wondering...).
Afghanistan), and meant the second consecutive Christmas/New “It’s been a very successful
the terrorist arms Year away from home. deployment,” said her CO Lt Cdr
trade. Six hours out of Jeddah, the ship met up Tim Neild. “We’ve showcased the
Lancaster with HMS Cumberland on her way home (see Royal Navy’s world-class mine
has a remit to opposite) after a six-month security mission. countermeasures capability on
board vessels The Type 22 swapped equipment and both sides of the Atlantic, and the
suspected of experiences with Lancaster before the latter Danish exercise was a fi tting way
breaching continued east and the former sailed west. to close out the deployment.”
The youngest of Britain’s
Hunts, Quorn returned to
Portsmouth in time for Christmas
leave. She’ll be out of action
for six months as 2010 begins,
undergoing a refi t.
RFA Ark Royal?
NORMALLY Ark Royal’s being
topped up rather than doing the
But off Plymouth, the carrier
was charged with filling up
HMS St Albans as the frigate
underwent Operational Sea
RASing (Replenishment At
Sea) is fundamental to OST (as
it is to any front-line operations)
although it’s usually conducted
with an RFA tanker or one-stop
supply ship.
But for a change, the tricky
evolution was conducted with
Dauntless’ winning combination
The Type 23 closed to within
25 metres (82ft) of the carrier,
which then swung her crane
WITH the weak December sun time in Portsmouth Naval Base, are world beaters and the people really looking forward to going
into action for the transfer of
glinting off her hull, the second the destroyer was formally of the Royal Navy are second to sea.”
of Britain’s next-generation handed over to the RN by y toto none. His shipmate AB(Sea) On top of the usual diffi culties
warships makes her inaugural its builders BAE Systems. “This is a winning Charmaine Harvey added: “It’s of a RAS, the manoeuvre was
entry to her home port. So down with the Blue ue cocombination, and the been a great day and really made even more challenging
As with her sister Daring, Ensign and up with the e sship provides us with exciting to welcome Dauntless courtesy of some very
HMS Dauntless sailed into White on a day as the tools to do the job, to the fl eet. I’m now looking ‘seasonal’ weather.
Portsmouth in the depths of equally blustery and whatever the country forward to the future.” Not only did the Saints’ RAS
winter watched by a sizeable showery as the one 24 requires of us, for The air defence destroyer was team constantly receive a good
crowd on the historic sea front. hours before... years to come.” launched at BAE’s Govan yard in soaking from the spray from
Unlike her sister, there was no As the RN’s As for the ship’s January 2007 (her bow and main the waves caused by a choppy
mist shrouding the Solent. Just a standard was raised company, well they mast were built in Portsmouth by sea, but the skies were not
fair smattering of clouds and a so the ship’s company quite like their shiny VT before the two fi rms merged) always blue and the sailors had
bit of rain. gathered in the (rather nnew plaything. and fi tted out on the opposite to contend with a very painful
And also unlike her sister, the large) hangar to hear “It’s fantastic that side of the Clyde at Scotstoun. hailstorm.
second of the RN’s six Type 45 Deputy Commander-in-Chief Dauntless has been offi cially She’s undergone two series Despite being cold and wet,
destroyers sailed past the Round Fleet Vice Admiral Richard handed over to the Royal Navy of sea trials. One more batch is the Saints were happy with
Tower with the Blue Ensign Ibbotson welcome “a magnifi cent and she’s now ours,” said 19-year- planned in the new year before the outcome – and probably
fl ying. feat of engineering.” old AB(Sea) Chris Biggs. Dauntless is commissioned in happier with the warm mug of
But not for long. For the day He continued: “HMS “I’m proud to be part of the the summer. tea they had on their return to
after the ship berthed for the fi rst Dauntless and her sister ships ship’s company and I’m also Picture: LA(Phot) Keith Morgan their messes.
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