Sunday, 3 October 2010

Joint Warrior 102 - Mines countermeasures vessels

Members of SNMCMG1 took part in the exercise, and had been berthed in King George V Dock at Glasgow. Heading the flotilla back down the river was the German minesweeper FGS ROTTWEIL (M1061), originally a minehunter of the 'Frankenthal' class that was built by Lurssen Werft in 1992 but which was modified in 2006-7 to become a mine clearance diver support ship.

She was followed downriver by this Polish ship, ORP KONTRADMIRAL XAVERY CZERNICKI (511), a vessel described as a 'multi-purpose logistic support ship'. Originally ordered by the Russian Navy from the Northern Shipyard at Gdansk, she was completed in 2001. CZERNICKI is capable of carrying up to 140 troops and vehicles, and is equipped to handle helicopters although her main role is to supply other vessels with food, fuel, water and munitions. She served for a period in the northern Persian Gulf, and is now the command ship for SNMCMG1.

One of the numerous 'Alkamaar (Tripartite)' class minehunters belonging to the Dutch Navy was present, in the shape of HNLMS ZIERIKZEE (M862). The class was originally developed between the Netherlands, Belgium and France although examples of the ships are now found with several other navies. ZIERIKZEE was built by van der Giessen-de Noord and was completed in 1985. Like many mines countermeasures vessels, the class have a hull constructed from GRP.

One of the Belgian 'Tripartite' class ships followed her sister down the Clyde. BNS CROCUS (M817) is a product of the Mercantile-Belyard shipyard in Rupelmonde and she was completed in 1986.

Norway is represented in the Group by KNM HINNOY (M343), a surface effect ship of the 'Alta' class developed from the earlier 'Oksoy' class and built by Kvaerner Mandal in Norway. Her twin hulls, made of GRP, are fitted with rubber skirts fore and aft with large fans providing an air cushion between them. Waterjet propulsion is fitted, giving a speed of more than 20 knots.

The familiar profile of a 'Sandown' class minehunter was seen as the second last ship of the group made its way out to sea. Now a member of the Estonian Navy, ENS ADMIRAL COWAN (M313) was sold by the Royal Navy in 2006 having previously served under the White Ensign as HMS SANDOWN, first of the class. One of her sisters, HMS PENZANCE, remained upriver until later in the day when she, too, joined the group.