The Royal Naval survey ship HMS Enterprise is due to return to her home port of Plymouth next week after an epic 20-month deployment.
The oceanographic and hydrographic survey ship returns to HM Naval Base Devonport on Friday (June 10) having sailed over 50,000 miles during her deployment, with her most recent operations over the last few months having surveyed an area the size of Dartmoor National Park. Her deployment has also included West Africa, Arabian Gulf, Gibraltar, Oman and southern Red Sea.
HMS Enterprise is one of two Echo class ships in the Royal Navy and designed to spend most of her time deployed on operations. It will therefore, be a rare moment for HMS Enterprise’s crew when the ship ties up at her base-port to the awaiting families and well-wishers.
Commander Jon Holmes, the ship’s commanding officer said: “It is always special for a ship to return to her home base after a long period away. Our relief manning system allows us to operate in this way, but also allows the work to continue. After a short stay and change of half of the crew, we will be back to sea early next week.”
HMS Enterprise’s operations enhancing defence survey knowledge and built on existing relations in these areas. Of particular importance is the work East of Suez which remains a complex and potentially unstable area. HMS Enterprise was launched in 2003. She operates a watch rotation manning regime, allowing her crew of 76 to regularly rotate with 50 personnel onboard at any one time. This class of warship is designed to provide the Royal Navy with modern hydrographic and oceanographic capabilities. This is provided by multi-beam echo sounders and an array of towed sensors for military data gathering.
Operating worldwide for HMS Enterprise and any warship is challenging, skills need to be maintained, and a continual process of training maintains the ship at an alert state. The nature of the job means the ship’s sensors are busy concurrently with this training collecting a wide range of environmental data.
During her deployment a variety of charity events took place to raise money for the Primrose Cancer Ward at Derriford hospital in Plymouth – HMS Enterprise’s nominated charity. Among these events were the dry land ‘Row the Suez’ challenge which raised £170. Another highlight was the race against time that tested the mental agility of sailor Rolly ‘Roulston undertook the physical test to see how many times he could complete a Rubiks Cube during the 11-hour transit. While most people would probably be happy to complete a few dozen cubes in this period he solved the colourful conundrum in an astonishing 574 times in 10.5 hours, raising another £160 in the process.
HMS Enterprise has a busy period ahead of it; due to deploy at the end of the year it now needs to undertake a period of maintenance and system updates followed by operational sea training.