Royal Navy mine clearance ship HMS Brocklesby will return to her home port of Portsmouth after three years

A PORTSMOUTH Royal Navy ship is heading home after three years in the Gulf.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 11:39 am
HMS Brocklesby leaves Portsmouth in June 2018

Mine Countermeasures Vessel HMS Brocklesby has started her journey back to the UK, and is due back to her home port by the end of the year, before undergoing maintenance and returning to service next year.

Brocklesby has been based at the naval support facility in Bahrain since 2018, and has had the job of helping to ensure international shipping lanes remain clear of obstruction, and open to trade while strengthening ties with allied nations.

She continually operates the Sea Fox remotely operated vehicle system, which is a semi-autonomous mine identification and disposal system, as well as having mine clearance divers on board, and Brocklesby’s glass-reinforced plastic hull – one of the largest of its kind – helps protect her from mines.

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HMS Brocklesby (M33) off the coast of Bahrain

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The ship is 40 years old next year – two years younger than her sister ship HMS Ledbury – and sees crews on a rotation basis. She is currently under the care of Mine Countermeasures two (MCM2) Crew 6, known as ‘The

Mavericks’,

‘It is a real privilege to be sailing Brocklesby back from The Gulf,’ Lieutenant Commander Dan Lee, the ship’s commanding officer of MCM2 Crew 6, said. ‘She has been home to just over 190 sailors in her time out here and been a real driving force in providing a forward presence, trialing autonomous systems, as well as delivering a mine-hunting contingency capability.’

Since leaving Portsmouth in June 2018, Brocklesby has travelled 150,000 nautical miles – equal to circling the earth about three-and-a-half times – and completed six crew changes, alongside 18 operations and exercises.

Brocklesby, in company with the Sandown class MCMV HMS Shoreham, arrived in the Gulf mid-August of 2018, replacing HMS Middleton and HMS Bangor. She is due to conduct a handover with Middleton midway through her journey back to the UK.

‘We continue to meet a busy operational schedule right up to our departure from Bahrain and look forward to handing the reins to HMS Middleton and wishing her success in her deployment to the region,’ said Lt Cdr Lee.