Navy minehunters sail for Gulf

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Royal Navy minehunters HMS Shoreham and HMS Atherstone set sail this week for three-year deployments to the Gulf region.

The two ships will join the UK task force based in the Gulf. Sandown Class HMS Shoreham left her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde on Monday, 28 May, while Hunt Class HMS Atherstone left her home of Portsmouth on Wednesday, 30 May.

En route the two ships will operate together in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, giving support to a multinational task force providing security in the troubled waters.

Sailing HMS Shoreham is the Faslane-based First Mine Countermeasures Squadron’s Crew 4; 38 sailors who will see the vessel safely to her destination during the two-month voyage.

The crew is due to fly back to the UK at the end of the year, but the ship will remain in the Gulf for around three years, alternating crews.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Shoreham, Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Toby Shaughnessy, said:

Sailing today marks the culmination of a great deal of hard work and preparation by my ship’s company.

Deploying from friends and loved ones for such a long time is always tough, but we eagerly anticipate the challenges that the deployment will present.

Once at their destination, both Shoreham and Atherstone will relieve sister ships.

Lt Cdr Justin Hains, Commanding Officer of HMS Atherstone, said:

The Royal Navy is justifiably proud of its world-class mine countermeasures capability.

Our ships are fitted with modern weapon systems, operated by highly trained and motivated personnel.

Throughout our training we have demonstrated our capability and resilience.

Whether operating in UK waters or deployed abroad, the team contributes on a daily basis to the maintenance of a stable and safe maritime environment, which is vital to our nation’s security and prosperity.

The United Kingdom keeps a number of mine countermeasures vessels based in Bahrain, as the local environment allows them to perform key training in the warmer and more challenging waters found in the Gulf.

All Royal Navy vessels in the region also work in close partnership with regional navies in order to ensure maritime security and stability, so that commercial shipping and fishing take place in a safe environment.