HMS Cattistock deploys for NATO duties in the Baltic

Royal Navy Mine Hunter, HMS Cattistock, has set off from her Portsmouth base to join the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) as part of a three month deployment to the Baltic Sea.

HMS Cattistock deploysThe purpose of SNMCMG1 is to ensure that all NATO units are continuously worked up and ready for operations in peacetime, periods of crisis and conflicts, as well as to ensure that the partnerships between NATO countries remains strong.

Lieutenant Commander Charlie Wheen, Commanding Officer of HMS Cattistock said: “The Ship’s Company have worked incredibly hard to ready themselves and the ship for operations, and this is particularly noteworthy given that most of us were on operations in the Middle East just a few months ago.

“In the intervening period, the ship has not just been committed to the necessary maintenance and training to prepare for this NATO deployment, but also involved in national tasking around the UK, including the safe disposal of a WWII bomb that was found in dangerous proximity to a major gas pipeline in the North Sea.

"Of course, none of what we do would be possible without the support and sacrifice of our families and friends, and it is important to acknowledge their vital contribution here.”

Very few divers get to do this trip so it’s a great opportunity

Able Seaman Diver Craig Wootton, HMS Cattistock

During her deployment HMS Cattistock will take part in a series of multinational exercises and operations alongside their NATO partners, including Force Integration Training and Historical Ordnance Disposal.

Able Seaman Diver Craig Wootton said: “Very few divers get to do this trip so it’s a great opportunity. One of the hardest factors as a diver on this deployment is going to be the cold. We’ll be really looking out for each other, taking it in turns to be in the water and plenty of hot drinks.”

The crew of HMS Cattistock returned from a highly successful seven month deployment in the Gulf just six months ago. The short interval between these deployments is characteristic of the impressive operational tempo that is maintained across the Mine Warfare community.