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Bay class act as RFA support ship completes mammoth Gulf mission

RFA Cardigan Bay returns home
11 July 2016
Four years and two months after last seeing the shores of this sceptred isle, support ship RFA Cardigan Bay is back in UK waters after completing her lengthy Gulf mission.

The ship proved crucial to mine warfare operations in the Middle East – not just by the Royal Navy’s four minehunters in the region, but by US counterparts based in Bahrain and international dive teams.

Although built to provide support for amphibious landings by the Royal Marines, the ship has proved equally adept as a ‘mother ship’ to minehunters – providing food, fuel, water, ammunition, and accommodation and acting as their floating headquarters, with a mine warfare battle staff aboard choreographing the ships’ actions.

At times she’s also served as a launchpad for ScanEagle eye-in-the-sky drones monitoring suspicious activity, and, with the addition of a temporary hangar on her flight deck, new Wildcat helicopters getting used to operating in the demanding Gulf climate.

Fifty months deployed is an impressive statistic – more so because the ship has not missed one operational commitment or task in all that time

Captain Chris Clarke RFA, Commanding Officer RFA Cardigan Bay

Over this lengthy deployment, the ship has used (or delivered) more than 21,193 tonnes of fuel – enough to fill 353,217 average family cars… allowing them to collective drive 2.12 million miles (a lot… but still only 1/24 of the distance to Mars).

In addition, the ship’s company alone has polished off in excess of over 103,000 sausages and 282,000 eggs over the past 50 months.

“Fifty months deployed is an impressive statistic – more so because the ship has not missed one operational commitment or task in all that time,” said Cardigan Bay’s proud Commanding Officer Capt Chris Clarke.

“The ship has received a large range of plaudits during this time – both military and political. None of this could have been achieved without the steadfast support from friends, family and supporting staff in Bristol, Portsmouth and at A&P Falmouth – the key people who underpin all that we do.”

And are about to do so again, for it is in Falmouth where the ship will now undergo an extensive overhaul while her sister RFA Lyme Bay takes her place in the Gulf supporting our minehunters.

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