6 NAVY NEWS, JUNE 2010
Clyde saves yacht crew
A SAILING family owe their lives to the men and women of HMS Clyde after the patrol ship plucked them out of the South Atlantic.
Clyde raced through the night, keeping a sharp lookout for the ice which had crippled the Hollinsclough, as high seas and strong winds bashed the warship. She reached the stricken yacht around mid-day on May 8 and immediately dispatched a sea boat with a team of marine engineers, led by Lt Robert Satterly, the ship’s marine engineer offi cer. They found the Hollinsclough about 1,000 miles east of the Falklands, low in the ocean and taking on water which had caused the engine to fail. Lady Hollinsclough and her daughters Caitland and Morgause were ferried back to the warship. “It was clear that the family had been through quite an ordeal,” said Lt Satterly.
The Hollinscloughs were making for Cape Town from South Georgia when their 18-metre yacht – named for the family – was holed by a growler about 300 miles from the island. They issued an SOS… picked up by the Maritime Rescue Co- ordination Centre in Falmouth… who passed it on to the Falkland Islands’ patrol vessel.
Picture: LA(Phot) Terry Boughton, FRPU East
Cape capers for Sceptre
BRITAIN’S oldest nuclear submarine was due to make a ceremonial fi nal entry to port after her last tour of duty for her nation as we went to press. That port was Devonport,
rather than the traditional home of Faslane for HM Submarine Sceptre, which has spent seven months away from the UK in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The latter stages of that
lengthy deployment found the hunter-killer in South Africa for a spot of R&R, plus exercises with the South African Navy. While alongside in Simon’s
hatches to naval visitors and many South African sailors took the unique opportunity to have a look around a British nuclear boat. Several members of the local community, including workers from nearby Koeberg nuclear power station, were also allowed onboard and given a talk on what powers the vessel – the submarine pressurised water reactor. Sceptre’s hospitality was
He and his team plus Lord Hollinsclough tried to salvage the yacht. That proved impossible. “Unfortunately nothing could be done to save the yacht and we were just glad to get them back to the ship safely,” Lt Satterly added. The family had clocked up 16,000 miles on a round-the- world yachting adventure. They said the sight of Clyde made them feel “elated” after wading in icy water up to their shins trying to keep the South Atlantic at bay for some 36 hours. From Clyde, the family
watched their yacht slip beneath the waves. The ship sounded her horns in salute and turned back for the Falklands. “Although it was very sad that the Hollinscloughs’ trip has been curtailed in these circumstances, the response of my team was outstanding and has ensured that the family was rescued safely,” said Clyde’s CO Lt Cdr Steve Moorhouse.
... as does Liverpool
THE doctor of HMS Liverpool saved the life of a critically-ill yachtsman in mid-Atlantic – without even laying eyes on him. The Type 42 destroyer was making for the Azores on the first leg of her Atlantic crossing to join the rest of the Auriga 2010 task group in the USA when she picked up an SOS. A motor yacht registered in the
Cayman Islands sent a distress signal via Falmouth Coastguard that one of its crew was suffering from severe blood poisoning. After taking on fuel in Ponta Delgada, Liverpool began making for the yacht’s position some 750 miles west of the Portuguese islands.
rendezvous with the yacht, Liverpool’s Surg Lt Will Denby was on the radio to the vessel’s crew.
American sailor was suffering from septicaemia and needed urgent medical attention. Surg Lt Denby advised the yachtsman’s shipmates of the correct antibiotics to be used, their dosage and any fluid management required. That life-saving support proved to be the end of Liverpool’s involvement, for a Spanish assault ship, SPS Castilla, was closer to the scene than the veteran 42. She recovered the sick
He learned that the ill As the ship headed for a
returned by Rear Admiral Robert Higgs, Flag Offi cer Fleet for the South African Navy, who hosted the boat’s wardroom for dinner at his personal residence, and presented the submarine’s CO, Cdr Steve Waller, with a traditional African staff, known as a knobkerrie, as a memento. There was also the chance for the deeps to broaden their professional knowledge by visiting one of their hosts’ new Heroine- class 209 diesel boats. While the equipment and technology may have been different, the working practices and professionalism onboard were familiar to all submariners. There was time for some rest and relaxation during the stay in Simon’s Town. The crew enjoyed many
attractions in nearby Cape Town,including wine tasting, a trip to Table Mountain and local rugby and football matches. With South Africa hosting the
Town, Sceptre hosted a reception onboard for local dignitaries, British embassy staff and senior South African Navy offi cials. Sceptre also opened her
Into the lair of the beast
A MUSHROOM of broiling fi re and smoke rises above the Gulf of Aden – part of a double blow struck by British warships against
For the first time a Coalition
warship – HMS Lancaster – has sailed into the pirates’ home waters to strike at the belly of the beast.
The Red Rose entered Somali
waters and targeted several pirate camps, scrambled her 815 NAS Lynx to range up and down the coast,
carrying out surveillance
and identifying numerous enclaves used by the raiders. With the marauders looking
sailor, operated on him and subsequently flew him to hospital in the Azores. As for Liverpool, she continued on her way west to join forces with flagship HMS Ark Royal off the Eastern Seaboard of the USA
(see page 3).
on, Lancaster seized two pirate vessels which were at anchor only a couple of hundred metres off shore, towed them out to sea and sank them using the frigate’s 30mm gun. A third ‘mothership’ had all its
fuel ruined by adding sugar. The actions signifi cantly dented the pirates’ ability to send three
‘action groups’ into the Indian Ocean to strike at fi shermen or passing merchantmen. In a separate blow dealt the
pirates, HMS Chatham pounced on an action group and sank its skiffs – with equally fi ery results
(see page 16).
For Lancaster, the foray into
the pirates’ lair was the last major act of a seven-month tour of duty aimed at safeguarding merchant shipping east of Suez.
She sailed in mid-October – it meant her second consecutive Christmas away from home – to work with two multinational naval task forces in the Indian Ocean, Coalition Task Forces (CTF) 151 and 150.
CTF 151 is principally charged with detecting,
deterring pirate activity off the coast of Somalia; 150 has the wider mission of providing general security in the Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. In the course of her patrols Lancaster conducted several
boardings of vessels suspected of being in breach of international law.
The ship’s boarding parties – a combination of Royal Marines from the Fleet Protection Group and members of the ship’s company – also visited fi shermen and merchantmen in the region to reassure them about Coalition efforts to combat criminal activity in the region – especially narcotics smuggling, which has reduced drastically thanks to the concerted efforts.
Her work done, Lancaster has handed over duties to her sister Northumberland, which will be in the vanguard of maritime security operations.
a relatively rare visit by a British warship to the port
As for the Red Rose, she paid of Algiers
on her homeward journey to Portsmouth.
Lancaster hosted a two-day defence security and industry event on behalf of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope. That allowed a number of British defence fi rms to showcase
some of their latest technology to offi cers of the Algerian Armed Forces.
And so to Portsmouth and home
as Navy News was printing. “I am particularly proud of my
ship’s company’s achievement in the fi ght against piracy,” said Commanding Offi cer Cdr Rory Bryan. “Overall, we have signifi cantly reduced the pirates’ capability to operate. “During the past few months, Lancaster has demonstrated that the Royal Navy is willing – and able – to take direct action to disrupt and prevent criminal activity in those areas of the world where safety and security of navigation are threatened. “More widely, the ship has
also played an important role in regional engagement and forging closer links between the Royal Navy and our allies.” After leave this month, the ship’s
company will return for exercises in home waters before the Type 23 enters refi t in September.
World Cup this month, no visit would be complete without a trip to the city’s new football ground (the imaginatively-titled Cape Town Stadium). The submariners were treated to an U21s match at the stadium between South Africa and Nigeria. After six days in South Africa,
it was time to leave and make for UK waters.
The last of the Swiftsure boats, Sceptre is due to pay off later this year after more than 32 years’ service.
Westminster back home
NO LONGER do the bulk of the ship’s company of HMS Westminster have to trek up and down the A35 and A38 each week.
After 12 months in Devonport – many of them in the ‘frigate shed’ – for an £11m refit, the Type 23 bade farewell to the Hamoaze and returned home to Portsmouth. The frigate received a new ‘brain’ – a DNA(2) command system – while she was in the hands of Babcock Marine. Engineers also fitted an
improved Seawolf missile system (which effectively doubles its range), laid 25 miles of new cable, refurbished 1,100 items/pieces of machinery, installed a new main gearwheel and 300 new items, and covered the hull in go-faster paint which stops marine organisms sticking to it – reducing Westminster’s drag. Once all that was done – on time and on budget – there were eight weeks of trials off the South Coast.
The frigate successfully passed those, permitting a return to Portsmouth as ‘the most capable 23 in the Royal Navy’.
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