A ROYAL Navy ship has returned to Scotland following the success of a three-year mission.
The minehunter HMS Shoreham set off from Scottish shores in 2018 and made a 6,000-mile journey to the Persian Gulf.
Now after the lengthy mission, the Sandown Class Mine Counter Measures Vessel was welcomed home in style as water cannons were set off to signal her return back to the River Clyde.
Weighing in at 600-tonnes, the HMS Shoreham seen several crew rotations due to the extent of its three-year deployment. However, the crew which has operated the vessel over the last 11 months had the hard task of sailing it back to Glasgow.
Commanding Officer of HMS Shoreham, Lieutenant Commander Richard Kemp said he was ‘incredibly proud’ of the crew.
He said: “They have shown a fantastic ethos, especially during some challenging periods at sea.
“I am incredibly proud of this ship’s company for the hard work and effort they have put into making this trip home a success.
“I now look forward to granting my ship’s company some well-deserved post-deployment leave before we continue operations in the UK.”
Whilst on its three-year mission the vessel HMS Shoreham helped keep important sea-lanes secure, ready to detect and neutralise underwater devices should anyone threaten the safe passage of merchant shipping.
It also had work to do on its journey back to Scotland, as the crew conducted maritime security operations in over seven different seas which are aimed to deter both piracy and terrorism.
Sailing back to the UK alongside HMS Brocklesby both ships also participated in Operation Sea Guardian, NATO’s maritime security mission in the Mediterranean.
However, it wasn’t all hands-on deck all of the time, as the crews were granted downtime on the journey home.
Whilst in the Red Sea, the crew were given a ‘hands to bathe’ order, which is a naval tradition. The crew are instructed to jump into the water as the captain stops in calm areas of water a few days before the routine washing of the ship upon its return journey.
Able Seaman James Kelters said: “This is my first sail back to the UK with a Mine Counter Measures Vessel, a highlight of my career so far. I particularly enjoyed working with foreign naval forces while on transit and enjoyed my first experience of a traditional Royal Navy ‘hands to bathe’ in the Red Sea.”
Replacing HMS Shoreham in the area was fellow Faslane ship HMS Bangor, with HMS Middleton taking over from HMS Brocklesby.