Fast rope training on HMS St Albans

Royal Marines have given a demonstration of their versatility and skill by fast roping onto the flightdeck of HMS St Albans.

Making use of St Albans’ Merlin helicopter, one by one members of the ship’s Royal Marines Boarding Team (RMBT) carried out one of their most dangerous training exercises – descending from a helicopter onto the deck of a moving vessel.

The training involves careful planning and control; from keeping the helicopter at the same height, to matching the speed and course of the ship, and controlling the rate of descent down the rope.

The officer in charge of the Royal Marine detachment on board, Lieutenant Warren Rowe RM, said: “Royal Marines boarding training on the deployment so far has seen us take part in a training package in Crete, then with the US Coast Guard Maritime Engagement Team and NCIS, along with any additional training we can do on board. 

The bond between the Royal Navy and Royal Marines will grow closer, and an understanding of how each other works will only be of benefit.

Lieutenant Warren Rowe RM

“As the Royal Marines move more into contingency based warfare, the bond between the Royal Navy and Royal Marines will grow closer, and an understanding of how each other works will only be of benefit.”

HMS St Albans is deployed on Maritime Security Operations in support of CTF 150, a multinational coalition of warships, working to prevent smugglers using the sea to transport their goods.

The ability to fast rope from a helicopter provides HMS St Albans – a Type 23 frigate – with an increased capability which, when combined with her ability to conduct approaches by sea boat, makes for a potent and effective boarding force.