Town ship in NATO exercise

HMS Blyth on exercise.
HMS Blyth on exercise.

BLYTH’s namesake Royal Navy vessel – HMS Blyth – has been taking part in a NATO exercise in Turkey to train crews in how to locate dummy mines while under a simulated attack.

The Sandown Class Mine Counter Measures vessel and her crew, was in the Bay of Izmi, to brush up on skills required as part of its role as a NATO command platform.

HMS Blyth’s day-to-day tasks include leading warships from Turkey, Greece, Italy and Germany through several weeks of successful maritime security operations and as well as exercises.

The most recent exercise saw Blyth use both her ship’s divers and the advanced Seafox mine disposal system to detect drill mines laid in her area of operations.

The task group vessels had to respond to simulated attacks by small boats, fast jets and helicopters.

The ship’s commanding officer, Commander Tim Davey, said: “The exercise saw Blyth prove its capability in mine detection and disposal, as well as training the ship’s force protection teams against a variety of realistic simulated threats.

“Working closely with the Turkish navy, the exercise provided us with a great opportunity to train my team and maintain our core skills.”

Before arriving in Turkish waters, HMS Blyth took part in another major exercise – a salvage operation in the Aegean Sea involving a simulated fire and flood on board.

“The assistance at sea exercise was a great opportunity for the four vessels in the task group to work together in a high-pressure situation,” said Lieutenant Commander Charlie Noonan, Blyth’s executive officer.

“In the end, the response from all teams was excellent and it proved the close bonding and high levels of co-operation that exist among the sailors.”

The emergency exercise finished with a German fire fighting team re-entering a smoke filled compartment, a Turkish first-aid team dealing with simulated casualties and an Italian damage control team conducting dummy repairs to ‘flooded’ compartments.

The crew of HMS Blyth are now looking forward to three-weeks of maritime security operations in the eastern Mediterranean.