Minehunters keep eye out for buoys in Gulf

HMS Quorn
HMS Quorn
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TWO buoys bobbing along in the middle of an ocean may not seem dangerous.

But sailors on Portsmouth-based HMS Quorn quickly recognised the potential for a dangerous situation when they spotted the two unmarked and unlit buoys.

The minehunter was out on an international exercise in the Gulf when she saw them in a busy shipping lane.

HMS Quorn’s commanding officer Lieutenant Commander Simon Kelly said the buoys were ‘highly dangerous’.

‘The two buoys were substantial structures and posed a significant danger to vessels in their vicinity,’ he said.

‘And particularly to the lightly-built fishing and merchant dhows that rely on this environment for their livelihoods.

‘They were unlit and would have become nearly impossible to see at night at sufficient range.

‘By locating and reporting this danger to navigation, HMS Quorn has prevented a potentially highly-dangerous situation from developing and safeguarded the wellbeing of the local mariners and their industry.’ The crew used the ships’s GPS to pinpoint the position of the two buoys.

They then relayed those details to the local authority, including details of their moorings.

In turn, these were passed on to mariners in the area via the Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS).

HMS Quorn is one of the four Royal Navy minehunters out in the Gulf.

The warm and shallow waters provide a valuable training area for mine detection skills.

As reported previously in The News, HMS Quorn and HMS Atherstone were on a two-week exercise.

The International Mine Counter Measures Exercise saw 40 countries work together.

They were practising keeping shipping lanes clear of mine, while also testing their ability to work together.

Mine Warfare Battle Staff, were also involved.

They were based aboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Cardigan Bay.

In command of the minehunters, the MWBS staff played a key role.

Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon was also involved, ready to provide air defence if needed.