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Montrose’s Starboard Crew back in the groove for Gulf mission

Montrose’s Starboard Crew back in the groove for Gulf mission
23 July 2020
AFTER well-deserved leave following their exertions in the Gulf, HMS Montrose’s Starboard crew are back on the road to the Middle East.

The 200 men and women have begun their training to take charge of the ship once more in the latest four-monthly rotation of the frigate’s crew.

Normally based in Devonport, the Type 23 frigate is deployed to Bahrain – the hub of the Royal Navy’s operations east of Suez – long term under the Forward Presence programme.

The initiative – which has now been expanded to include Gulf-based minehunters – crew will never miss two Christmases or summers in a row and with fixed dates set for departure/return, it means family life (such as weddings and holidays) shouldn’t be disrupted.

Starboard Crew returned from their most recent stint in the Gulf in the spring while the ship’s port crew are in charge; the four months in the UK allows for leave, courses, training and, with no ship to look after, no duties.

Instead, the crew make use of simulators or, for more practical training, frigates alongside in the base to ensure key skills – fire-fighting, damage control, engineering – do not fade.

Working closely with the Fleet Operational Sea Training staff as well as the Babcock workforce in the dockyard, they got the chance to run through emergency procedures and drills aboard HMS Monmouth.

The training is really important to get us as a team on Montrose back up to the best skill level we can be at, especially after a break from the last deployment and seeing our families

Able Seaman Connor Barker

“The training is really important to get us as a team on Montrose back up to the best skill level we can be at, especially after a break from the last deployment and seeing our families,” saidAble Seaman Connor Barker.

Things can change quickly on operations and you need to be totally ready to respond.  I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and seeing everyone working together.”

Commander Charles Collins, Starboard Crew’s Commanding Officer said the pandemic had “really changed the training environment in the Royal Navy since our last rotation so we have had to really work together, as one big team, to ensure we are ready.

“It has been tough but we had to ensure all the elements and safety requirements were in place before we could start training. Today’s training was really realistic, challenging and really good. 

“It has not been just about the crew, it’s also about our families and making sure they are all safe too.  To the families, I’d like to reassure them that their loved ones are trained to the highest standards and doing their best.  To the crew, I am proud of you and know that you will always deliver, the country is proud of you.”

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