Faslane-based mine hunter sails to Baltic for NATO deployment

Royal Navy mine hunter HMS Ramsey; HMS Ramsey conducting exploratory mine hunting diving drills during training and the crew conducts a man overboard recovery drill. Pictures by the Royal Navy

By Gavin Carr

HMS Ramsey has sailed from her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane on the Gareloch to join a NATO task group for a four-month deployment.

HMS Ramsey will join the multi-national group as part the UK’s commitment to NATO, allowing Commanders a fully-integrated Mine Counter Measures (MCM) capability for operations.

The ship will be the second MCM vessel to join the task group this year, relieving Portsmouth-based ship HMS Cattistock.  She will join forces from Germany, Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands as they conduct joint operations as part of a permanent task group in the Baltic Sea.

“Being part of a NATO Task Group will be a fantastic opportunity for us to work with our allies and promote the Royal Navy,” said Lieutenant Henry Kilby (24), HMS Ramsey’s Navigating Officer.

Crew 2 from the Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1) took ownership of HMS Ramsey in the final weeks of December last year, having previously been on board HMS Grimsby.  Before that the crew had been with HMS Bangor, deployed in the Middle East. 

Since the beginning of 2019 they have been preparing the ship and crew, developing their operational capability to ensure they are ready for anything while deployed.  This included a maintenance period followed by four-weeks dedicated to training at sea.

The culmination was an intense two-week direction continuation package under Flag Officer Sea Training (North).  The crew were tested in navigational serials such as pilotage and coordinated anchorages, live gunnery and damage control, as well as a period of exploratory mine hunting.

While conducting mine hunting operations, the crew exercised being within mined waters as well as conducting mine countermeasures using her Seafox Mine Disposal System and Mine Clearance divers.

HMS Ramsey’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Peter Ellison (39), said: “MCM1 Crew 2 has seized the opportunities of the training period and is ready to join our NATO allies on operations.  It has been a team effort and I am immensely proud of what has been achieved.

“HMS Ramsey has deployed on a high and we are ready for the challenges ahead.”

Once they have joined Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCM1), HMS Ramsey will conduct patrols with allies, helping to demonstrate alliance resolve, foster solidarity and enhance the alliance relations with partner nations through visits, exercises and exchanges.

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