Portsmouth Minehunter Leaves For The Med

27 January 2014, 08:20

Portsmouth-based Royal Navy minehunter HMS Brocklesby leaves the city today (Monday 27 January) for a four-month NATO mission in the Mediterranean.

She will be working as part of a multinational maritime force called the Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 2 (SNMCMG2).

The Royal Navy is at the forefront of mine countermeasures capability worldwide and this deployment offers Brocklesby's crew of 44 the opportunity to demonstrate and hone those skills further working alongside NATO allies.

Ships from allied nations operate together throughout the year defending sea routes from the threat of underwater mines and carrying out joint training exercises.

Minehunter crews rotate around various ships. HMS Brocklesby's current crew spent a busy six months aboard HMS Atherstone in the Gulf last year.

HMS Brocklesby's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ben Vickery, said:

"My crew had a successful Gulf deployment in 2013 as part of the permanently deployed UK Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Force, and we are very much looking forward to deploying to the Mediterranean and the opportunity to showcase the Royal Navy's MCM capability and our ability to work effectively with our NATO partners."

The crew has been put through their paces by the Naval training team and are ready to deploy, Able Seaman Diver Ben Gaskell, aged 23, said:

"Having only recently joined Brocklesby, my first ship, it has been brilliant to put all my training immediately into practice and learn from my ship mates - I've been doing lots of diving and underwater bomb disposal. Now I am really looking forward to deploying and doing the job for real."

Brocklesby is one of eight Hunt-class minehunters of the Royal Navy's 2nd Mine Counter-Measures Squadron, which specialises in finding mines in deep seas.

She will take over from Faslane-based HMS Penzance.

HMS Brocklesby is expected to pass the Round Tower at approximately 11.10am.