The Royal Navy’s Flagship HMS Bulwark launches into 2016 with a new commanding officer and the award of a prestigious naval trophy.
Captain Parkin said: “I am hugely honoured to assume command of HMS Bulwark. The ship has a demanding future programme to meet and a faultless reputation for sustained excellence in high profile situations. I am certain that my sailors and marines under my command will continue to deliver operational success in the future, whatever 2016 holds.”
Captain Parkin joined the navy as a warfare officer in 1997, He commanded Plymouth-based HMS Montrose from 2012 to 2014 to conduct deployments to the Middle East, Mediterranean and Baltic. He worked in the Ministry of Defence from 2014 to 2015 and was selected for promotion to captain in 2015.
He has also served in HM Ships Berkeley, Manchester and Somerset as well as commanding the patrol vessel HMS Ranger, and then deployed to Baghdad to work in the US-led Multi-national Force HQ. Captain Parkin succeeds Captain Nick Cooke-Priest who now begins a job in the Ministry of Defence in London.
The ship has been presented with the Royal Navy’s Capital Ship Fleet Effectiveness Trophy. The award recognized unwavering performance through 2015 including migrant search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, the poignant 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign and the amphibious Cougar 2015 deployment to the Mediterranean, which included security support to two international summits in Malta.
2015 was a landmark year for other awards. HMS Bulwark is extremely proud to be the winner of the Desmond Wettern Trophy for 2015, awarded to the ship considered to have done most to project a positive image of the Royal Navy. The ship was also a finalist for the Plymouth Herald’s ‘Pride of Plymouth’ awards and her sports teams have equally triumphed gaining a Fleet Sports Trophy.
HMS Bulwark faces training and maintenance prior to a varied and exciting programme of exercises and operations through the year.
Based in HM Naval Base, Devonport, HMS Bulwark is one of the Royal Navy’s two amphibious assault command and control ship with a crew of 350, a quarter of whom are made up from 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.
The ship is designed to carry up to 225 marines in dedicated accommodation for long periods and another 500 in austere conditions for short periods. A large floodable dock holds four large landing craft – with another four on the ship’s side. The larger craft can carry up to 120 troops or a Challenger 2 main battle tank. For the humanitarian mission, they have been loaded with lifejackets, water, food, medical supplies and shelter.
HMS Bulwark is retained at high readiness (five days’ notice) for contingent operations – whether combat operations, providing humanitarian assistance or disaster relief.