HMS Ramsey visits Dublin’s Fair City during NATO Task Group mission

Faslane-based mine hunter HMS Ramsey has returned to home waters after a successful deployment as part of Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1.

Crew seven from the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1),  who have most recently been operating the Sandown Class vessel, has been training alongside the Irish Navy when, in April, the NATO task group sailed in the company of Irish ship LÉ James Joyce, a Samuel-Beckett class off-shore patrol vessel. 

The activity came after a port visit to Dublin where the crew of HMS Ramsey hosted His Excellency the British Ambassador to Ireland, Dominick Chilcott.  During the visit the ships of the task group also opened their gangways to visitors, with Dubliners queuing to see the impressive assortment of warships at the heart of their city.

The ships and crew of our MCM force are among the best in the world and that is down to our world-class training and the quality of the men and women who tirelessly serve at home and abroad

Commander Tim Davey

In April 4, HMS Ramsey joined LÉ James Joyce to practice manoeuvres and mailbag transfers on the “snotgreen sea” as Joyce himself once famously called it. The activities highlighted the major strength of the NATO deployment – the chance for members of different navies to gain an appreciation of how others work. 

Able Seaman Battiste from HMS Ramsey, who spent the day on board LÉ James Joyce, said: “It was a great experience to be able to embark for the day on board LÉ James Joyce and see how they operate.  It is not every day that we get to work with the Irish Navy so it was a fantastic opportunity.” 

After the Irish ship departed, the NATO task group continued to HM Naval Base Clyde, practising seamanship serials on the way.  There was also the opportunity for Ramsey and Norwegian ship the HNLOMS Otra to conduct a towing exercise.  It was the ideal opportunity for both the bridge and ship teams to hone their skills. As HMS Ramsey entered Scottish waters, she undertook mine counter measures operations around the Isle of Arran.  

Expert Royal Navy clearance divers from the ship examined a suspected item of ordnance on the seabed, finding eventually that it was in fact a practice mine. Newly recruited Able Seaman Diver Crawford, was one of the team involved.  The chance to board a boat and take part in a dive so soon after joining the ship was an experience the young sailor described as being simply: “fantastic”. 

Ramsey briefly returned home to HM Naval Base Clyde on April 7.  It was a short stop-over for the mine hunter; just three days later she and the NATO task group sailed once again to participate in one of the biggest military exercises in Europe – Exercise Joint Warrior.  Over the next fortnight the task group operated off the west coast of Scotland practicing a huge variety of skills needed on the modern maritime battlefield.  

The crew of HMS Ramsey were involved in several air defence exercises which also tested their ability to deal with internal damage to the vessel.  Hawk jets were used to simulate incoming attacks with Ramsay coordinating with Dutch Frigate HNLMS Wilemoses to see off the threat.  Having completed Exercise Joint Warrior, Ramsey and her crew properly returned home to Faslane where family and loved-ones were waiting to give the crew – many of whom had been on deployment for four months – an emotional welcome home.  

Commander Tim Davey, Commander of the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1), said:  “I had an opportunity to visit HMS Ramsey in March while she was operating with the task group in the English Channel. Crew seven should be commended for their hard work and dedication during a period of demanding exercises and task group operations. The ships and crew of our MCM force are among the best in the world and that is down to our world-class training and the quality of the men and women who tirelessly serve at home and abroad.”