Royal Navy minehunter HMS Ledbury returned to Portsmouth on August 9 following a three- month deployment across the Mediterranean and northern Red Sea.
She formed part of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2, working extensively with NATO partners from Germany, Italy, Turkey and Albania as well as non-NATO nations including Israel and Jordan.
Her Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Justin Hains, said:
“My crew and I are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with so many nations at sea.
“The Royal Navy remains a highly respected fighting force and I am extremely proud of my sailors’ achievements during the last three months.”
In addition to conducting ‘regional engagement’ during port visits, Ledbury exercised with other NATO warships, testing replenishment at sea, towing, close manoeuvring and communications.
During a visit to Jordan, 30 sailors from Ledbury and the German Auxiliary Ship Mosel took the opportunity to visit the ancient city of Petra.
And a visit to Albania was another high point for many of the crew.
Able Seaman (Mine Warfare) Matthew Fay said:
“I knew almost nothing about the culture there before but the three days in Vlore gave me a great insight into life in the country.”
The trip also offered excellent opportunities for the ship’s divers to operate in an unfamiliar environment.
Able Seaman (Diver) Ali Shaw, 28, said:
“I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to dive in the Gulf of Aqaba.
“Not only is it an amazing site for diving but the Israeli Navy Dive Team was very welcoming during our time working with them.”
HMS Ledbury – one of eight Hunt Class minehunters of the Second Mine Counter Measures Squadron – will undergo a period of maintenance in Portsmouth before working with NATO allies in the Baltic Sea later in the year.
Press Release, August 12, 2013; Image: Royal Navy