Royal UK Navy mine hunter, HMS Blyth, returned to her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde on Monday, July 21, after a deployment which saw her begin and end with a maritime rescue operation.
Crew 1 from the Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1) sailed with Blyth on April 22 and were almost immediately involved in the rescue of two stricken sailors off Ailsa Craig.
After plucking the men from their capsized dinghy and handing them safely to the Coastguard, the vessel continued her journey, eventually arriving in the Mediterranean to take part in NATO exercises.
Months later, as she left to return home, Blyth found herself once again involved in a real-life maritime drama as the Italian Rescue Centre in Rome called upon her help to locate a stricken boat with 400 migrants on board.
The crew of the Sandown Class Mine Counter Measures Vessel (MCMV) leapt to the rescue, co-ordinating the search for the vessel which had sent a distress signal after breaking down off the Italian coast.
The theme of international co-operation was very much in evidence during HMS Blyth’s NATO deployment.
Working as part of Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 2, or SNMCMG2 for short, HMS Blyth exercised alongside colleagues from the German, Turkish and Italian navies.
The group took part in “Italian Minex 14”, a yearly exercise off the North West coast of Italy which involved 738 sailors from 15 nations, 16 vessels and eight international observers.
HMS Blyth also stopped in at various ports during her deployment including Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta, Italy, Greece, and Tunisia.