HMS Shoreham has departed Clyde Naval Base – her home for the past two decades – for the last time, beginning a short ‘goodbye tour’ of the UK.
The minehunter was escorted out of Gareloch and into the Clyde by Royal Marines craft and the Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron, while Naval Base Commander Robert Anstey joined the Sandown-class vessel and tugs blasted jets of water in appreciation from fire hoses – a traditional naval send-off.
Equipped with specialist kit, underwater vehicles and a clearance diving team, it’s been Shoreham’s mission to keep sea lanes open by ensuring there are no mines hindering the safe passage of shipping – in particular dealing with devices placed in deep waters, thanks to a sonar which detaches from the hull and can be lowered.
Launched at the Vosper Thornycroft yard in Southampton in 2001, she was commissioned the following year in her namesake Sussex town – the fifth Royal Navy vessel to bear its name.
In her 20 years of active service the minehunter has alternated her time between training/operations in home and northern European waters, plus extended stints in the Middle East – typically three years at a time – as part of the Royal Navy’s Gulf-based forces.
The ship has clocked up more than 120,000 nautical miles – enough to take her around the world five and a half times – and visited more than 30 ports at home and abroad while serving under the White Ensign.
“It has been a tremendous journey for HMS Shoreham,” said Lieutenant Commander Andrew Platt, her final Commanding Officer.