‘Lion’ greets Russian ‘bears’ on high seas
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
British anti-submarine frigate HMS Northumberland took the opportunity to greet and exchange messages with Russian battle cruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great).
During a chance meeting off the coast of Scotland the Russian ship’s emergence over the horizon coincided with onboard flying training involving Northumberland’s Merlin Helicopter whose on-board camera captured images of the two sailing in company.
CO Commander Tristram Kirkwood said: “While HMS Northumberland is only half the size, from the air we looked like a formidable pair. My ship’s company very much enjoyed the opportunity to interact with such an impressive ship”.
It was the second time in as many weeks that Northumberland has interacted with the Russian Navy. Both she and the Russian Federation Ship SOOBRAZITELNY participated in the Irish Naval Fleet Review during a visit to Cork.
During the visit the CO was pleased to be invited onboard SOOBRAZITELNY for a tour during which CO Captain Victoriav Tcherokov gave a short talk on the capabilities of the Kamov KA-27 Helix helicopter, and the weapon and communication systems onboard. The COs exchanged ships crests and discussion their common aims of tackling crime on the high seas, protecting legitimate maritime traffic and deterring those who commit illegal acts in international waters.
The interaction with SOOBRAZITENLY continued three days later during routine manoeuvres at sea with both ships conducting exercises in ship handling and search and rescue techniques, again involving Northumberland’s Merlin. Commander Kirkwood said: “It was a real privilege to both visit and interact with the SOOBRAZITENLY and her crew. I am very grateful for the hospitality and the opportunity to interact with the RFS SOOBRAZINTENLY at sea. I hope we meet again in the near future”.
HMS Northumberland has recently returned from a seven-month deployment to the Middle East and East Coast of Africa where they travelled 45,000 miles, crossed five time zones and visited 11 countries. Her Boarding Teams conducted 71 operations, one of which resulted in the capture of bales of cannabis resin with an estimated street value of £5.5 million. She is due back in the region again next May.