The ship will embark on a long journey down through the choppy Bay of Biscay and left into the Mediterranean, on again through the Suez Canal…
The ship will embark on a long journey down through the choppy Bay of Biscay and left into the Mediterranean, on again through the Suez Canal and left again, this time to the Strait of Hormuz and eventually on to Bahrain.
There she will be met by the giant support ship Lyme Bay, part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and her new life will begin.
The Sandown Class minehunter will stay fully operational for the whole four years, although her crew will rotate every six months or so.
In the best naval traditions, close friends and family will today tour the ship before she sails and will enjoy lunch with their loved ones before taking part in a short religious service conducted by Father Andrew McFadden, the Chaplain of the Faslane Flotilla.
The Captain of the Faslane Flotilla, of which HMS Ramsey is a part, Captain Phil Buckley, will also be there to wave the ship off. Tugs will spout up giant plumes of water and horns will blast a farewell.
HMS Ramsey’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Alex Bush, said:
We are about to embark on a great adventure which will be a fantastic experience for the crew.
In a ship as small as Ramsey we all have to work together to get the job done properly, but what a job that is, clearing the seaways for other ships to follow. And you must remember that 95 per cent of Britain’s trade is still done by sea.
This is the Royal Navy’s way of playing its part in keeping those sea passages safe for trade as well as for our bigger warships. Those ships, with their steel hulls, couldn’t go into action without our clearing the way for them first.
The Sandown Class minehunters, which measure 52 metres in length and weigh 600 tonnes, are made of glass-reinforced plastic and are therefore able to go where the rest of the fleet cannot. They also carry some of the most modern sonar equipment in the world.
Their hulls don’t trigger the sophisticated echoes sent out by modern mines, but they can find the mines and clear the way for other ships to follow.