Navy

HMS Forth Takes Bomb Disposal Experts To South Georgia On Environmental Mission

The 10-day trip marked the ship's third visit to the remote British territory in the South Atlantic.

HMS Forth has taken bomb disposal specialists to South Georgia as part of a mission to protect the island's wildlife.

The patrol ship is the Royal Navy's permanent presence in the waters of the South Atlantic.

The 10-day trip marked her third visit to the South Georgia's shores, and the final time before winter sets in in the Southern Hemisphere, the Navy said.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians from the British Army's Royal Logistic Corps were sent to find and deal with historical devices left over from the Falklands War in 1982.

The island was the first place occupied by Argentine forces in March 1982 and the first place liberated by British forces the following month.

The disposal team was led by Sergeant Bethany Bray, and accompanied by Petty Officer 'Cat' Stephens and Able Seaman El-leigh Neale.

They found rocket motors that could threaten the safety of scientists from the British Antarctic Survey which works there through the year, or the native wildlife, which includes seals, seabirds and penguins.

Leftover ordnance from the Falklands War is safely detonated above Grytviken (Picture: Royal Navy).

Personnel also undertook 72 hours of adventurous training in the rugged landscape, having landed at King Edward Point, close to the British Antarctic Survey's research station and at the abandoned whaling station, Husvik harbour.

A service was held by Naval Chaplain Thomas Bakulumpagi at Grytviken church – one of the most southerly places of worship on the planet.

The River-class vessel also carried out joint training with South Georgian fishery patrol vessel, Pharos SG, whose task is to make sure fishing boats adhere to regulations.

As well as joint boarding and inspection training, the ships had a look at Fortuna glacier, while an RAF A400M 'Grizzly' transporter from Mount Pleasant in the Falklands, gave them aerial support.

The aircraft flew to spot large and potentially dangerous icebergs in HMS Forth's path.

HMS Forth with fishery protection ship Pharos SG off the island's coastline (Picture: Royal Navy).

This included parts of A68a, recently the world's largest iceberg, which recently grounded on the island's continental shelf.

During the mission, Army and RAF chefs helped to provide 240 meals each day to the 80 people on board.

HMS Forth's Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard Attwater, said: "The South Atlantic is a truly joint environment and this patrol is proof of that.

"Engineers, bomb disposal technicians, submariners, chefs, medics, civilians, infantry and sailors have come together to achieve a common goal.

"This is my second time in South Georgia after 14 years and it remains a career highlight."

Cover image: Royal Navy.