HMS Enterprise was waved off as she deployed on patrol from Plymouth yesterday 4 June after months of challenging training and maintenance.
The was waved off at Devil’s Point as she sailed across Plymouth Sound via HM Naval Base, Devonport, for 18 months of vital survey work in the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean and Red Sea before heading into the Gulf.
All the data gathered will be fed into the UK Hydrographic Office to update and produce the navigation charts used worldwide for the safe transit of international shipping.
Among the banner-waving crowd at Devil’s Point to watch the ship transit to the Channel was Plymouth’s Lord Mayor Vivien Pengelly in her mayoral ceremonial regalia of chain, hat and red gown.
She waved the ship off and said: “I like to support the families in wishing them well in their important job and I hope to be here when they come back safely.
She continued, “It’s an important part of my work as Lord Mayor.’’
The commanding officer of HMS Enterprise, Commander Derek Rae, said: “The Enterprise is a first-rate platform, fitted with some of the most advanced survey and mapping systems in the world.
“My ship’s company are exceptionally well trained and the imagery and data that we are able to collect will make a real and significant contribution to the safety of sailors and shipping worldwide; this is also of great importance to the UK as 95% of all UK imports arrive by sea.“
Having spent much of the last six months dealing with simulated war and damage scenarios by Devonport-based Flag Officer Sea Training staff or in a busy maintenance period in Falmouth, the crew are keen to put their skills to good use on operations.
For some onboard, the deployment is their first taste of operational life outside of UK waters.
AB(HM) Donna Harrison, 25, from Hebburn, Tyne & Wear said: “I can’t wait to go. I’ve wanted to be in the Royal Navy since I was 13 and I’m now on the verge of a fantastic deployment with the chance to put all my training to good use.
“The separation from my partner will be hard but I am very lucky – he is massively supportive of me and my career; this is my dream job.”
HMS Enterprise is the sister of Plymouth-based HMS Echo, the Royal Navy warship despatched to assist in the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines aircraft in the Indian Ocean.
In addition to her survey work, HMS Enterprise will conduct core Royal Navy tasking, including wider regional engagement with international partner nations and allies, counter piracy patrols and maritime security operations.
Press Release, June 05, 2014; Image: UK Navy