HMS Chiddingfold sailed from Portsmouth today for the Arabian Gulf where she will spend three years protecting vital sea lanes.Although the 42 crew on board the minehunter will rotate every six months, the ship will be based in Bahrain until 2017.
Chiddingfold will work with three other UK minehunters conducting maritime security patrols and exercising with allied navies. Temperatures in the Gulf in high summer typically reach well into the 40s Celsius – and never get cooler than about 30C.
Aboard the ships temperatures in the engine room compartments are around 55C, limiting work there to about 20 minutes at a time. Because the waters of the Gulf are so warm, (also about 30C), tap water on the ships is about the same and it’s impossible to drink it without ice.
HMS Chiddingfold has the latest minehunting technology at her disposal including the Seafox mine disposal system, advanced sonar, as well as a team of expert ordnance disposal divers.
It’s her first deployment since being fitted with new diesel engines during a major refit in Portsmouth in 2012. She will sail in tandem with HMS Penzance – a Sandown-class minehunter based on the Clyd