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Illustrious digs deep

LITERALLY. Twenty-six sailors from the

carrier found themselves drafted on to the streets of the Scottish capital as snowfall paralysed swathes of the Central Lowlands. Lusty is in the later stages of an 18-month overhaul across the Forth in Rosyth (she’s due back at sea this summer).

the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and RAF personnel from Leuchars, the sailors helped workers from Edinburgh City Council to get the metropolis going again. The military assistance

Alongside comrades from

Scott’s the Pole star again

AS THE sun tints the horizon with a reddish-orange hue, tugs help HMS Scott down the Hamoaze at fi rst light on a winter’s morn.

And if you think it was parky when the survey ship departed Devonport, well its positively redders compared with her destination.

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With HMS Endurance’s fate still undetermined nearly two years after she came close to foundering in the South Atlantic, it falls to Scott to uphold the nation’s long-standing commitment to scientifi c research and safety in the waters of the Antarctic. Scott fi lled in for the Red Plum last winter (or summer


It is exactly 100 years since Capt Scott – for whom the survey vessel is named – arrived in Antarctica at the beginning of his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. “It could be no more fi tting that HMS Scott is to conduct operations in the Antarctica in the 100th anniversary year of Captain Scott’s fi nal Antarctic expedition,” said the survey ship’s CO Cdr Gary Hesling.

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as it is in the southern hemisphere), surveying 3,000 miles of uncharted ocean in the process. Her sonar scanners and hi- tech software gave scientists a unique (and rather colourful) view of what lies beneath these cold waters, including newly-discovered undersea volcanoes.

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was requested by the Scottish Government to help civilian authorities maintain and restore vital routes to services and ensure that the emergency services could respond to call outs. Among those receiving assistance from the Forces were Edinburgh Royal Infi rmary’s Sick Children’s Hospital and a medical practice in Leith. For one member of Lusty’s crew this work very close to home. Warfare offi cer Lt Euan Duncan hails from the city and lives in its Marchmont district... around 30 seconds’ walk from where the team set to work clearing the entrance to the children’s hospital.

Although not technically an ice breaker, Scott can cope with ice up to 80cm (2.5ft). Her sonar wizardry is capable of surveying the deepest oceans in continuous lines of up to 400 miles in length.

with ice Picture: LA(Phot) Dan Hooper, FRPU West

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hydrographic data for the United Kingdom Hydrographic Offi ce to update its charts of waters becoming increasingly popular with mariners, not least ‘eco- tourists’ in cruise ships.

As she did last season, the ship will provide

Montrose’s parting shots

IN THE closing moments of her stint in the Somali Basin, frigate HMS Montrose cast a fi nal blow at Somali pirates. The ship’s Lynx spied a pirate

boat – which was swiftly identifi ed as the whaler from MV Zoufl ecar. Since being captured by the

pirates in November, the vessel had been pressed into service as a pirate mothership. But its days as host to a

piratical horde were brought to an end by the M3M .50 calibre machine gun of Montrose’s Lynx. Cdr Jonathan Lett, Montrose’s

CO, said: “HMS Montrose has been patrolling off the Somali coast for some time and we know how the pirates operate. “Our destruction of the whaler close to a known pirate camp has sent a message to the Somali pirates that NATO and other coalitions forces are willing to fi ght them in order to prevent them attacking merchant ships.” This was the last of a series of

blows that the frigate has struck against the pirates since leaving her Plymouth home in August. She disrupted several attacks

“As soon as I heard they were looking for helpers I volunteered,” said the 27-year-old. “This is my home city and

it’s really nice to be able to give something back to the community where I grew up. And it made sense, too, since I had local knowledge.”

clearing paths, 25 musicians from the Royal Marines Band Scotland volunteered and were on standby should they be required.

and stripped many suspected pirates of their weapons. In October she was called to the aid of the MV Beluga Fortune which had been attacked and boarded by pirate forces. The Type 23 raced for more than 24 hours over a distance of 700 nautical miles to the rescue of the stricken ship – and sent her Marine-led boarding team to search the vessel. Once checked over, the crew

In addition to the carrier sailors

were given the all-clear to leave their safe-room refuge. After three months patrolling the coast of Africa on Operation Ocean Shield Montrose turned her prow homewards, and was due back in Plymouth just days before Christmas.

Picture: LA(Phot) Caroline Davies, FRPU East A Santastic homecoming

THE boys are back in town. And the girls too. All 180 of them.

have certainly curtailed it and made a signifi cant difference,” he added.

Giving a big thumbs-up, the ship’s company of HMS Northumberland celebrate their return to Devonport after eight months east of Suez by donning Santa hats (apart from one chap who evidently forgot his...). It was April when the frigate last caught sight of Plymouth Hoe and Smeaton’s Tower.


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Type 23 has clocked up nearly 50,000 nautical miles – the equivalent of circling the world twice – on her mission of protecting world trade.

In the intervening eight months, the

task force directed from Bahrain, patrolling the sea- lanes to keep them open and safe for business. Pirate attacks in the Middle East went down signifi can

Northumberland and the task group, said the frigate’s CO Cdr Paddy Allen. “I believe that the latest fi gures for successful attacks

piracy although we have not solved the problem, we in 2010 clearly indicate that, tly thanks to the presence of Northumberland was part of a multi-national y

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The frigate, with her Merlin from 829 NAS and her detachment of Royal Marines, worked mostly in the Gulf of Aden and Oman and the Somali Basin in support of Operation Calash.

Victoria (see the centre pages) and her sister HMS Montrose (above right) on counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, making life diffi cult for the pirates who ply their illicit trade along the 1,500-mile Somali coast and adjacent seas.

fl ight and her detachment of Royal Marines can be proud of all they have achieved during a prolonged eight-month operational deployment.” Northumberland worked alongside RFA Fort

“This has been a hugely challenging deployment, but Northumberland, her Merlin

Cdr Allen explained: “It’s imperative that the maritime arteries which our nation is heavily reliant on remain free from illicit activity, ensuring the trade of everything from gas and oil from the Middle East to electrical goods from the Far East – something which is all-too-often taken for granted.

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