HMS Scimitar back in Gibraltar waters after annual revamp

Back on patrol in the waters off the Rock is the second of the Royal Navy’s fast gunboats safeguarding Gibraltar: HMS Scimitar.

The 52ft boat – capable of buzzing around the territorial waters at up to 37mph – was hauled out of the water for her annual six-week overhaul ahead of a busy autumn and winter.

With her sister Sabre and several rigid-hull inflatables under the banner of the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron – based in modern facilities next to the historic headquarters at The Tower.

It’s the squadron’s task to protect any RN or Allied vessel making use of the naval base – such as carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth earlier this year and later this week frigate HMS Argyll, which has just deployed from Devonport.

No Commanding Officer likes to see their ship out of the water, but I am extremely pleased to see HMS Scimitar return to sea again – one week ahead of schedule.

Lt Tom Loxton RN

In addition, the boats reinforce British sovereignty of Gibraltar and its territorial waters, conducting reassurance patrols and responding to any transgressions.

Local firm Bolaños carried out the refurbishment of Scimitar, which was lifted out of the water and held in a cradle and surrounded by a forest of scaffolding while a new coat of paint was applied and one of her two MAN diesel engines was overhauled.

“No Commanding Officer likes to see their ship out of the water, but I am extremely pleased to see HMS Scimitar return to sea again – one week ahead of schedule,” said her CO Lt Tom Loxton.

“With the combined efforts of Gibraltar Squadron’s engineers, Babcock and Bolaños and with her sea trials now complete, SCIMITAR is ready in all respects to recommence her patrol responsibilities around Gibraltar’s territorial waters.”

In Scimitar’s absence her sister HMS Sabre bore the burden (she’ll be lifted out of the water for her annual service later in the year).