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Whirl of activity
ROYAL Navy ships
his Filipino sailors was suffering counter-piracy, my ship’s company against criminal activity discovered
deployed in that nebulous
severe abdominal pain, from which have demonstrated that we are by the coalition warships.
area ‘East of Suez’ are there
Chatham’s medical officer, Surg trained and equipped to respond After Christmas in Dubai,
Lt Sarah Droog, surmised that he to rapidly-changing circumstances Lancaster spent the next few
for very good reasons. was suffering from appendicitis, wherever we are needed.” weeks at sea in and around the
They are always ready to and required urgent treatment. In both cases Chatham quickly transit corridor.
fight – that goes without
Chatham’s CO, Cdr Simon resumed her duties with Standing Moving on to the Royal Fleet
saying, wherever they are in
Huntington, sent Surg Lt Droog NATO Maritime Group 1, which Auxiliary, amphibious ship
the world. The clue is in the
across in one of the frigate’s consists of flagship HDMS Absalon Cardigan Bay hosted a visit by her
word ‘warship’.
sea boats to provide immediate (Denmark), HMCS Fredericton sponsor Lady Jan Stanhope.
Conversely, they are there
care, and while she stabilised (Canada) and USS Boone (US). Lady Stanhope and her husband,
to prevent conflict through the
the Filipino, Chatham’s Lynx So that’s Chatham – who else is First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark
deterrence of potential enemies
helicopter was launched. in the region? Stanhope, were welcomed on board
and by providing a reassuring
Despite the deck of the Well, there was a Saudi, a by the auxiliary’s Commanding
presence for friendly nations.
Zakynthos pitching sharply in the Yemeni, Singaporean, Australian, Officer, Capt David Buck RFA.
RN warships, and those of other
three-metre swell, the air crew Frenchman and Briton… “It was a great pleasure to host
maritime powers, provide security
gently winched the patient up and Not the start of a convoluted Lady Stanhope on board Cardigan
on the high seas, protecting
carried him back to the frigate. joke, but the scene on board HMS Bay and to have the opportunity
commercial vessels in the shipping
Once safely on board his Lancaster when senior officers to show her what the ship has
lanes which converge at pinch
medical care continued while from six navies convened in ‘pirate been doing whilst out here on
points such as the Gulf of Aden
the ship sped towards Salalah in alley’ to discuss the ongoing operations in the North Arabian
– many of those vessels bearing
Oman, at which point the Lynx challenges of illegal activity in Gulf,” said Capt Buck.
cargoes of oil, gas and consumer
went aloft again to transfer the waters off the Horn of Africa. “Her visit whilst we were
goods for the UK market.
man to hospital ashore. The Portsmouth-based frigate alongside in Bahrain was a
Burgeoning partnerships with
This was the second rescue is approaching the half-way point wonderful boost to the ship’s
other nations ensures the most
mission in a fortnight, the ship in her deployment as part of company and we were very pleased
effective use of scarce resources in
having already come to the aid of Combined Task Force 150, just that we had the opportunity to
a massive area of water, covering
a group of Yemeni fishermen adrift one of numerous international welcome both Lady Jan and the
millions of square miles far out
in the Gulf of Aden. naval forces tackling piracy, drug- First Sea Lord to the ship.”
into the Indian Ocean.
The dhow, with 21 fishermen running, people trafficking, arms Capt Buck took over command
And British sailors stand ready,
on board, was spotted wallowing smuggling and other criminal/ on January 31, succeeding Capt
as always, to bring vital emergency
in the middle of the transit terrorist actions in the region. Nigel Jones, who retired after 41
aid to nations reeling after natural
corridor, so Chatham dispatched As the Red Rose patrolled off years service with the RFA.
disasters, as was the case with the
her Royal Marines boarding team the Yemeni coast, Singaporean The ship spends most of
Boxing Day tsunami.
to investigate. Rear Admiral Bernard Miranda, her time patrolling the waters
This nexus of strategic aims is
It quickly became clear that the currently in charge of the sister of the Northern Arabian Gulf,
all well and good, but sometimes
dhow needed assistance – they task force, 151, hosted the supporting the training of the
it all boils down to something
were without power in the middle security conference in the frigate’s Iraqi Navy.
much simpler, much more human
of a busy shipping lane, more than wardroom. Back to the frigates, and HMS
in scale.
80 miles from land, with no fuel. Although piracy has grabbed Monmouth, in the Gulf as part of
So it was that HMS Chatham,
The frigate was able to provide most of the headlines over the Op Telic, has taken part in major
deployed on NATO counter-
enough fuel to the Yemenis to past couple of years, there are multinational exercises.
piracy duties in the Gulf of Aden,
enable them to return home. substantial problems caused by Stakenet Plus lasted 11 days,
broke off to rescue a seriously-ill
Cdr Huntington said: “Twice Somalis fleeing their country, with 22 ships from the UK, UAE,
sailor on an oil tanker.
in two weeks HMS Chatham has paying smugglers to take them Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia,
The Type 22 frigate, part
been able to render assistance to across the Gulf of Aden. France and the US participating.
of Operation Ocean Shield,
fellow seafarers. So one of the important The aim of the exercise was to
responded to a distress call from
“This is one of the many roles outcomes of the gathering test a range of scenarios aimed
the master of the MV Zakynthos,
the Royal Navy performs as part aboard Lancaster was improved at bolstering the ability of the
a Liberian-flagged tanker which
of the NATO task force. communications with the Yemeni players to protect key economic
was ploughing through the
“Whilst our core business is Coastguard so they can take action and energy infrastructure.
Internationally Recommended
Transit Corridor – the sea lane
policed by international forces.
He told the warship that one of
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