August 31, 2018 – Scots-based HMS Bangor will return to her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde today, August 31 and will be welcomed by family members, loved ones and personnel from the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1).
For the past three years HMS Bangor has been operating in the Gulf as part of the UK’s enduring commitment in the region to work with international partners to protect vital shipping lanes.
MCM1 Crew 2 took over HMS Bangor in January 2018 and in March, the Ship and her crew joined HMS Cardigan Bay and Ledbury to take part in Khunjar Hadd (‘Sharp Dagger’), an exercise to test the ability of the Omani Navy to work with warships from other navies which operate in the Gulf region.
MCM1 operate a crew rotation system where the ship remains in the region for a number of years with crews being rotated roughly every six months.
The three British ships joined the American and French navies in the exercise which centred on a fictional scenario, taking place in the Gulf of Oman.
As well as clearing mines from the waters off the capital of Muscat, the participants also faced threats in the air, the sea, joint manoeuvres and had to help vessels in distress.
It was a highly successful exercise which resulted in the threat being neutralised and the minehunter force having provided safe passage in and out of port and demonstrated how well the different nations can operate together.
The ship and her crew teamed up with the US again in May when American sailors joined HMS Bangor to take part in a training exercise.
Although the US minehunters also use Seafox, a small, remote-controlled submersible which is sent out to identify mines located by the ship’s sonar, they don’t know the specifics of how the Brits locate, identify and neutralise mines.
This was an opportunity for both navies to exchange knowledge and to improve their mine counter measures capabilities.
As well as their core MCM role, HMS Bangor and her crew have hosted multiple defence engagement visits with Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson visiting the ship while alongside in Abu Dhabi.
They also spent two weeks in Kuwait working alongside the Kuwaiti Divers and a few days in Doha delivering damage control training as well as hosting an Iftar – the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset – alongside in Bahrain.
The crew are now on their way back to Faslane after spending eight months in the Gulf, where they worked very closely with their sister crew on HMS Middleton.
They have transited through the South West Monsoon en route home, testing the Ship and the crew, as well as navigating through the Suez Canal and the Bab El Mendab Strait.
HMS Bangor is one of seven Royal Navy Mine Counter Measures Vessels (MCMVs) operated by the Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1).
Much of the UK’s oil and gas, as well as other products, come from the Gulf region and as such the efforts of our mine hunters are of vital importance to our economy and lifestyle.