Royal Navy Sub-Lieutenants experience life with the Merchant Navy

Two Young Officers from HMS Chiddingfold have experienced life in the Merchant Navy to broaden their naval knowledge and maritime experience.

Sub-Lieutenant Joe Holt and Sub-Lieutenant Sam Beardmore spent a week on MV Libra Voyager, a Chevron Crude Oil Tanker, as she travelled through Asia.

It was an unmissable opportunity for the Young Officers (YOs) to practice Astro Navigation and work in a different maritime environment.

The MV Libra Voyager, at 320,000 tonnes, has a displacement of over 400 times more than HMS Chiddingfold. 

I feel that I have benefited immensely from this trip, not only in terms of my Astro Navigation but as a seaman.

Sub-Lieutenant Holt

With an engine room almost large enough to accommodate Chiddingfold, and an overall length of 333m, she is over 50m longer than the new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers the Royal Navy will soon be bringing into service.

Sub-Lieutenant Holt said: “The liaison voyage was a fantastic opportunity to get to know the Merchant Navy and to visits lands and seas that the Royal Navy rarely does.

“I feel that I have benefitted immensely from this trip, not only in terms of my Astro Navigation but as a seaman.”

In one week the ship traversed the Bay of Bengal, the Malacca Straits, the Singapore Straits, and the Gulf of Thailand, finally arriving at Map Ta Phut in Thailand to discharge her cargo of Crude Oil.

Lieutenant Chris Keeble, HMS Chiddingfold's Gunnery Officer, added: “these opportunities are rare in the Navy and are immensely important in building bridges across the RN and Merchant Marine.

“I hope that this can act as a template for further trips in the future.”

The final stop for the two Young Officers was Singapore where they were hosted by Commander Andy Lamb OBE, the Defence Attaché to Singapore, who happy to pass on advice for their future naval careers.