Hurworth joins NATO for minehunting operations
Weeks of intensive training has seen HMS Hurworth prove her readiness to support NATO on minehunting operations around Europe.
The ship’s company took her around the UK to prepare for the deployment, undergoing tests on their equipment, gunnery drills and emergency scenarios.
The minehunter has joined NATO Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1 and will support on historic ordnance clearance and other minehunting exercises.
But to ensure she was ready, Hurworth’s Crew 3 were put through their paces starting with a visit from the Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST) team before a difficult transit north through the Pentland Firth. They had to battle bad weather, high sea states and strong tides, finally getting to Lamlash Harbour on the Isle of Arran.
Within the harbour, they tested their remotely-piloted underwater vessel Seafox which is used to locate mines while the Officers of the Watch practised manoeuvring the ship.
Hurworth then headed to HMNB Clyde for two weeks of assessments to ensure they can deploy with NATO. During the fortnight, they tested navigating without GPS and with defects to the bridge, firefighting, damage control and live firing of their weapons.
They also completed a winching exercise with the Coastguard and practised against attacks from fast boats with P2000 HMS Raider acting as the enemy.
Next they turned to the diving aspect of their operations. They deployed Seafox and autonomous underwater vehicle Remus while divers embarked on Hurworth carried out mine laying and recovery drills and diving in emergencies.
With their preparation complete, the minehunter headed through the Irish Sea, past Lands’ End and into Portsmouth where she raised the NATO flag.
Commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Simon Reeves said: “The ship’s company have had a busy period at sea preparing HMS Hurworth for NATO and contingent tasking, undertaking complex navigation serials, internal damage control and tailored warfare scenarios.
“I am very proud of my team who have displayed grit and determination to ensure Hurworth is ready to deploy once again on operations overseas, protecting our nation’s interests and upholding the reputation of the Royal Navy.
“They have shown commitment and drive needed to continue to deliver our operations.
“We stand united with NATO delivering security and prosperity to our area of operations, by ensuring trade routes remain open and removing historical ordnance from the ocean seabed.”
Lieutenant Joe Hobday, navigator on Hurworth, added: “The crew are very proud to be flying the flag for NATO as part of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1. As we conduct our operation we will be providing security and reassurance to our partner nations.”