Rochester Sailor Tells Of Libyan Tour

A Royal Navy sailor from Rochester in Kent has played a key role in the Royal Navy’s contribution to the international campaign to protect civilians in Libya.

Able Seaman (Mine Warfare) Sean Clive, 22 was serving on board the mine hunter HMS Brocklesby as it cleared mines from the besieged port of Misrata. If left unchallenged, the sinister explosive devices could have devastated ships delivering humanitarian aid.

At sea his duties involve steering the ship and, when the ship is in port, he is part of the security team that stands guard. He also helps operate the Type 2193 Sonar which is used to look for obstacles on the seabed.

Brocklesby Seafox launchThe 750-tonne warship, which is made from glass reinforced plastic in order to reduce its magnetic signature, used a sophisticated remote controlled mini-submarine called Seafox to detect and detonate the mine.

Sean, a former pupil of the Hundred of Hoo School, said: “When we went into the Harbour in Misrata we can see and hear the artillery ashore.

“I was working in the operations room as we received live images of the mine from the underwater camera on Seafox. It was exciting to do our job for real and rewarding to know our work meant the humanitarian aid could get through safely.”

Sean joined the Royal Navy in 2009 completing his basic training at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall.

Brocklesby Mine in a boatA highlight of his career was serving on the mine hunter HMS Chiddingfold, which is based in Bahrain. In punishing temperatures of 40 degrees and above, Chiddingfold’s role was to exercise warm water mine hunting techniques in the crowded waterways of the Arabian Gulf.

“It was hard work, but we got to attend the grand rrix in Bahrain, which was a bonus.”

Sean is now in training to join the Royal Marines - the Royal Navy’s sea soldiers - following a disciplined training programme in order to get into shape for the rigorous selection standards.

Built by Vosper Thorneycroft in Southampton and commissioned in 1983, HMS Brocklesby is one of 15 mine hunters in Royal Navy service, four of which are permanently deployed to Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf.

They are built from glass reinforced plastic in order to reduce their magnetic signature which has earned them the affectionate nickname of the ‘Tupperware Fleet’.

HMS BrocklesbyHMS Brocklesby is one of 16 Royal Navy warships, submarines and auxiliaries that have supported operations of Libya. In addition to mine hunting, other missions have included evacuating UK nationals, supporting the maritime blockade to enforce the UN embargo on arms sales, and striking pro-Gaddafi forces ashore using submarine launched cruise missiles and Apache helicopters flying from the carrier HMS Ocean.

Two ships, the destroyer HMS Liverpool and mine hunter HMS Bangor, remain off North Africa in support of continuing operations.