The Royal Navy’s Flagship, HMS Bulwark sailed from her home port in Devonport (Monday 16 July) to work up the crew in final preparations for Olympic maritime security duties later this week as the afloat Command and Control Headquarters supporting Dorset Police’s multi-agency security team at sea.
The Naval Service is providing a range of ships, including the Flagship, Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship Mounts Bay, P2000 patrol vessels, landing craft, and small fast boats, along with Merlin helicopters from 814 Naval Air Squadron.
Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Maritime Reserves personnel will bring their expertise in specialist roles to augment the civil security measures offshore to provide a safe and secure Olympic sailing venue for the elite Olympian sailors competing in Weymouth Bay.
While at sea over the next few days, the ship will settle into new routines and prepare for this special role, counting down the days before she arrives at the Olympic sailing venue of Weymouth Bay off the Dorset coast. A host of extra civilian agency specialists, led by Dorset Police, but supported by Police from around the country and other agencies including the Maritime Coastguards, UK Border Agency and RNLI. They will all work in the Combined Operations room to deliver the maritime security for this once in a generation sporting spectacle.
In May this year, HMS Bulwark successfully completed a live exercise at sea, “Olympic Guardian” brought together representatives of the civil, military and government agencies as they practised exercising controlled access to the coastline, air and sea space. The exercise allowed the teams to understand the environment of the Olympic venue and integrate fully, using shared communications systems and procedures.
The Commanding Officer of HMS Bulwark, Captain Alex Burton is confident that his team on board are well prepared and ready for their Olympic role. He said: “We’re honoured as a nation to be hosting the International Olympic events and the Royal Navy stands ready to support the nation in home waters. HMS Bulwark’s task this summer is to support the policing operation in a discreet manner with the provision of capabilities and resources to augment British policing. Our military planning team has established a strong and effective working relationship with Dorset Police over the last year. Together we’ll deliver a safe and secure Games venue in this region, it’s going to be a spectacular showpiece for the country and HMS Bulwark is particularly looking forward to supporting this unique event on the South Coast.”