Royal Navy White Ensign Flag

WATCH: Minehunters Tested Ahead of Gulf Duty

HMS Hurworth and HMS Ramsey prepare to protect vital shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf.

Royal Navy White Ensign Flag

Dozens of ships and submarines from 13 nations have come together off the west coast of Scotland to rehearse how they would respond to global threats.

Exercise Joint Warrior is one of the largest military exercises of its kind in Europe.

Among the various vessels are two Royal Navy Minehunters, which will be sent to protect vital shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf.

Royal Navy Minehunters

Mine Counter Measure Vessel, HMS Hurworth and HMS Ramsey are among the smallest ships in the Royal Navy.

Not only are they small, but they are also built with plastic hulls made from a glass-reinforced plastic so that they are invisible to sea-mines.

Their role is to swiftly detect and destroy these hidden dangers, to clear the way for the safe passage for larger ships. 

Royal Navy Minehunter bridge

The commanding officer of HMS Hurworth, Lieutenant Commander Charlie Collins says his vessel is well equipped with a team of divers and remote vehicles to fulfill their role:  

“We bring a huge amount of capability from what is quite a small ship."

Royal Navy Minehunter officer keeps watch

The crews of HMS Hurworth and HMS Ramsey have been training in readiness for a 7-month deployment in the Middle East, as part of a permanent international minehunter presence in the region.

“There are many different key straits around the world that our merchant vessels need to be able to safely operate.”

Royal Navy Minehunter Seafox robot submersible

Among the tools available to Lieutenant Commander Collins is the Seafox underwater drone.

The vehicle is guided to its target by an operator, where it is detonated to destroy the mine. 

“Mines are cheap and easy to get hold of and it’s our ability to be able to counter that threat.”

Royal Navy Minehunter Disposal officer at work

But in certain conditions, the Seafox is unable to operate so the Minehunters must rely on a team of specialist divers to identify mines by hand.

Royal Navy Minehunter Diving team

With international tensions still present in the Persian Gulf region, it is likely that the crews of HMS Hurworth and HMS Ramsey will continue to be among those tasked with keeping the shipping lanes open. 

Royal Navy Minehunter at sea