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HMS Mersey welcomed to Bermuda

HMS Mersey welcomed to Bermuda
26 January 2016
The Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Mersey has reached her first port of call on her first deployment to the North Atlantic and Caribbean.

HMS Mersey, the youngest of the Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels, left her home base of Portsmouth at the beginning of the month to start her long transit to the Caribbean where she will be employed in safeguarding UK interests and counter-narcotics operations.

After an uncomfortable sail against a barrage of rough weather and high seas, the ship was greeted with the welcome sight of brightly painted houses, beaches and palm trees.

Accompanied by The Premier of the island Michael Dunkley and Acting Governor Ginny Freson, HMS Mersey later hosted a reception and capability display for a number of local charities and organisations who have contributed to supporting the Young people of the island. 

It’s been great to be able to come here and interact with what is undoubtedly a fantastic charity and one which contributes so much to help further youth development on the island.

Able Seaman Kane Glentworth

The whole ship’s company were involved in welcoming the reception guests, giving them an insight in to life on board and Mersey’s capabilities.

The four day stop also saw HMS Mersey open to members of the public.

Nearly 500 visitors walked through Mersey’s decks, as members of the ship’s company were more than happy to show off their home and their day to day activities.

Particular highlights for the public included being shown how to fire a 20mm canon, as well as being able to sit in the Captain’s chair, a feat no member of the ship’s company would be brave enough to do!

Medical Officer Surgeon-Lieutenant Sarah Lownes, who was demonstrating (with plenty of fake blood and food colouring) the ship’s casualty response said “The number of people who have wanted to come visit us today has been astounding and we’re pleased to show exactly what we’re all about.

“RN ships are often tasked as a means to support overseas territories and it’s great to see that we have been welcomed so warmly.”

Some of the ship’s company were privileged enough to spend time with the Royal Bermuda Regiment-the Island’s infantry battalion, which was formed in 1965.

Mersey’s sailors were asked to compete in the annual Royal Bermuda Regiment Falling Plate shooting competition.

Drawn from all Ranks and Rates, a five man team was pitted against a number of rival teams including SNCOs, British Army Officers on attachment, the Bermudian Police Firearms Squad, Royal Bermuda Regiment Recruits 2016 still undergoing training and five sailors from the Oracle Americas Cup team who are currently based on the island.

The competition consisted of knockout rounds where the first team to successfully sprint 100m through sand and then knock down all ten plates went through. It was a well fought competition which saw HMS Mersey take second place overall having knocked out the Police, the British Army and the SNCOs, narrowly losing to the RBR 2016 Recruit Team..

Another event Mersey were fortunate enough to be involved with was spending time with Beyond Rugby Bermuda, a local charity set up by former WWE Superstar John Layfield as a way to help disadvantaged youths, and help instil core values through rugby whilst also supporting family services on the island.

Able Seaman (SEA) Kane Glentworth, Able Seaman (WS) Tom Bradshaw and Engineering Technician (WE) Alex How successfully planned and executed a training session for a number of the island’s children.

This witnessed the children concentrate their skills with tips and helpful advice from the ship’s company, including Able Seaman Kane Glentworth who before joining the Navy was a semi-professional rugby player.

Able Seaman Glentworth said “It’s been great to be able to come here and interact with what is undoubtedly a fantastic charity and one which contributes so much to help further youth development on the island.”

The Royal Bermuda Regiment held a mess dinner for members from the ship’s Wardroom and Senior Rates Mess as a final farewell before sending the ship off to her next visit.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Mersey, Lieutenant-Commander Richard Hewitt said; “We’ve had a fantastic reception to what can only be described as a wonderful few days alongside Bermuda.

“The welcome and interest we have been met with is testament to the community spirit of the island and the continued positive relations between Bermuda and the UK.”

Mersey has now departed Bermuda in high spirits as she sails towards the mainland United States to embark a US Coast Guard LEDET team and conduct Counter-Narcotic operations in the APT(N) Theatre.

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