Brief encounter in hazy Gulf

On a hazy Gulf afternoon two British ships have rendezvoused to test their capability.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship, Cardigan Bay, and the minehunter, HMS Shoreham, have been testing their ability to safely raft – or tie up alongside – in order for the smaller ship to replenish and therefore stay at sea for a prolonged period of time.

The weather conditions looked more like the foggy North Sea than the warm waters of the Gulf but looks can be deceiving as the fog was actually dust and wind, with temperatures in the high 30s Celsius.

Shoreham is deployed as part of the UK Mine Counter-Measures (MCM) force, based in Bahrain, while RFA Cardigan Bay is their ‘Afloat Forward Support Base’.

We were very impressed with the crew of Cardigan Bay who are clearly a very professional and experienced team.

Leading Diver Scott Dooley

Leading Diver Scott Dooley, who was in charge of the forecastle of Shoreham for the serial, said: “Although it was just a bit hotter than the West Coast of Scotland, this exercise was very much like the training we did with RFA Lyme Bay during Exercise Joint Warrior off the Scottish coast back in April. 

“We were very impressed with the crew of Cardigan Bay who are clearly a very professional and experienced team.”

Despite the difficult weather conditions, Shoreham was fully restocked and underway again in short order, conducting her key role in the Gulf - ensuring freedom of navigation for the region’s vital sea traffic.

Shoreham’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Simon Kelly, said: “Today was a very successful day, proving that the ship’s company of HMS Shoreham can complete this vital evolution despite adverse weather conditions.

“Having completed our ‘pit stop’, we can get underway again with very little time away from playing our part in the UK’s contribution to the region’s maritime security.”