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Rare Red Sea link-up for survey ships Enterprise and Scott

Survey Ships Link Up in the Red Sea

25/01/2013

Two of the five ships in the Royal Navy’s Hydrographic Squadron – which provides vital information so charts of the Seven Seas used by warships and merchant sailors are as accurate as possible – met up 5,000 miles from home.

Being in close company with another ship can be challenging and requires regular training to ensure it is done safely.
Lieutenant Mark Wilton RN, HMS Enterprise’s Navigator

HMS Scott and Enterprise, both based in Plymouth, sailed in company in the southern Red Sea, where Enterprise is gathering data and Scott was passing through to begin her survey work in the Gulf of Aden.

With the Middle East winter sun giving their grey hulls a pale golden sheen, two old friends meet up 5,000 miles from their Plymouth home.

Survey ships HMS Enterprise and HMS Scott met up in the southern Red Sea – the former collecting data on these waters, Scott passing through on her way to the Gulf of Aden to begin three months of work.

The very nature of survey operations means the five ships in the Royal Navy’s globally-respected hydrographic squadron – HM Ships Protector (currently in the Antarctic), Enterprise and her sister Echo, Scott and Gleaner (the smallest ship in the Fleet) – spend long periods away, working independently.

So this was a rare opportunity to refresh skills which are required when operating with other warships – Officer of the Watch manoeuvres to test the bridge teams and tactical (radio) and flashing light communications (using traditional lamp signals).

Scott put her sea boat in the water to deliver a spare part for one of Enterprise’s satellite systems and while the transfer was conducted the ships manoeuvred in close company for approximately one hour.

“Being in close company with another ship can be challenging and requires regular training to ensure it is done safely. It has been some time since Enterprise has had this opportunity, so to meet up with Scott – albeit for a short period – was extremely valuable for my bridge team,”

said Lt Mark Wilton, Enterprise’s navigator.

Enterprise is nearing the half-way point of an nine-month deployment picking up where her sister left off during 19 months data gathering east of Suez and in the Mediterranean. The ‘star ship’ of the hydrographic squadron has already discovered unknown wrecks in one of Dubai’s ports.

It’s the first time in four years Scott has been east of Suez. She was the very last Royal Navy ship to deploy in 2012, leaving her home at 11.15pm on December 21 (fog delayed her departure, hence the very late hour).

At 13,500 tonnes she’s the fifth largest ship in the Fleet and represents the Royal Navy’s only deep-water survey ship (Enterprise, on the other hand, specialises in gathering data closer to shore in shallower waters).

The information both collect will be used to update Admiralty charts – used by mariners the world over – as well as give our warships the freedom of manoeuvre necessary to effectively counter the threats posed by piracy and terrorism, in order to safeguard maritime trade and global security.

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