By Gavin Carr
Royal Navy Sandown Class mine hunter HMS Ramsey has returned to HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane after a successful deployment to the Baltic Sea.
Ramsey left her home on the Clyde in May this year, briefly stopping at Rosyth and Copenhagen, before joining-up with Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1).
The Group – consisting of vessels and personnel from the Danish, German, Estonian and Norwegian navies – worked together to clear historic ordnance off the coast of Estonia. Afterwards the NATO allies sailed to Kiel, Germany, to take part in NATO’s Exercise Baltops where they joined colleagues from Finland, Lithuania and The Netherlands.
It was the second year in a row that Ramsey participated in the exercise, on this occasion relieving sister Sandown HMS Grimsby and joining Frigate HMS Kent and around two-dozen other ships and aircraft for the biggest wargames of 2020 in the Baltic.
The exercise allowed the allies to test their ability to guarantee the freedom and security of nations with a Baltic coastline and saw the vessel tackle a variety of simulated seafaring and naval warfare challenges.
Lieutenant Commander Joel Roberts, Commanding Officer of HMS Ramsey, said: “This has been a short yet excellent deployment for HMS Ramsey and her ship’s company. Maintaining a persistent and adaptable presence is extremely important in being able to react to the range of security threats against UK and NATO interests.
“We have worked with partners and allies from Norway, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, the Netherlands and Finland. The training value permanently formed in a task group is unparalleled and the range of mine countermeasures tasking and exercises has allowed the continued development of our capability.”
HMS Ramsey was operated by Crew 6 from the Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1). The Squadron operates eight Crews which rotate between the seven Sandown Class mine hunters, two of whom have been forward deployed in the Middle East since December 2006.
There to welcome HMS Ramsey back home were personnel from across the Clyde Community, including the Submarine Flotilla and mine warfare specialists from MCM1.
Commander Steven White, Commanding Officer of the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron, said: “As well as operating in the Middle East in warm shallow water, we also have to operate in colder climes. The Baltic provides an excellent operational setting to ensure the personnel of our MCM community, and their equipment, can operate in a wide variety of environmental conditions. This is especially true for the Sandown Class with their variable depth Sonar which provides a unique capability to UK Defence.”
The Crew of HMS Ramsey will now go on to a period of tasking around the UK.