This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
OOn Active sern Active servviceice
T IS a perfect spring
to the gateway to Suez. with ‘radar’s greatest blips’,
morning in the
And just because there are so because it resembles anything
small port of Koper,
WITH the Navy’s emphasis on the Gulf, it’s easy to
few boardings does not mean from a lacklustre Sputnik to
Slovenia’s principal
overlook other longer-standing commitments, not
that the NATO ships don’t know white noise squawks.
what’s going on. Luckily, just as the sonar
outlet to the sea,
least its constant NATO role. RICHARD HARGREAVES
Rarely, if ever, can we have experts have a database of
hemmed in by richly-
spent a week with HMS Somerset in the Med with been better informed about submarine noises to identify
wooded hills.
Standing NATO Maritime Group 2.
movements on the high seas. a track, so NATO has a library
All ships are now ‘electronically of radar sounds – vessels have
A layer of early morning mist
tagged’ with the Automatic a radar ‘fi ngerprint’ – allowing
and haze shrouds the docks.
Identifi cation System, informing the operations room team to
The derricks of cranes rise
the world and his dog where identify a craft. You can even
above it, but the ships in port in Pompey, but from Turkey’s garlic lovers aren’t part of the But you can’t spend all your
they are, how fast they are go searching for a ship, based
are hidden behind a milky veil. Admiral Sinan Ertugrul. group presently, so English will time staring at a computer
moving and, in instances, what on the unique noise its radar
The northern Adriatic is a His force – fl agship TCG suffi ce. screen…
their cargo is (they don’t like to makes.
millpond. A diver clambers out Salihreis, USS Gonzalez, FGS Fine. Except that it’s only the So today he’s dropping out
advertise the latter for fear of On top of that there’s
of the water on to the quay and Niedersachsen, HS Kountoriotis, natural language of Somerset of Duke, Somerset’s Lynx, on to
piracy). intelligence coming in from
gives the thumbs up. ITS Euro plus Somerset – casts and the Americans. For the the fl ight deck of the Gonzalez.
At the back of Somerset’s Northwood or NATO HQ.
The pas boat – a Slovenian its net from the Pillars of Hercules rest of the force, it’s a second, “It’s purely voluntary and
bridge sits a fairly bog-standard Every now and then, they’ll
pleasure cruiser – is safe to to the shores of the Levant. perhaps third or fourth tongue. there’s no extra pay, but it
laptop. Into it is fed reams of ask the force to investigate a
go. It is a mission which NATO has Luckily, there’s the handy gets you off the ship and it is
data – thanks largely to Lloyd’s suspicious vessel.
Fifteen minutes later, a performed in the Med in various NATO codebook which interesting,” says Smudge.
– and the information from AIS, So far this deployment, the
quick hop on to a pontoon, a guises for more than 35 years. simplifi es things. By ‘handy’ I He completed two weeks
plotting its position on a map. seas have been devoid of
dart up the accommodation The organisation itself is mean ‘lever-arch fi le’ and by of Naval Military Training at
Pick a contact at random ne’erdowells.
ladder and we’re aboard HMS coming up to its 60th birthday. ‘simplify’ I mean page after page HMS Raleigh to learn the art
somewhere off Trieste: Kapitan “The only suspicious vessels
Somerset, one of six Allied So that must mean that after six of complicated manoeuvres of boarding a merchantman
Ezovitov. Now fl ick through the we’ve found so far have
warships dotted about the bay decades of operating, it has co- converted into curt codewords. including sliding down a rope list of options: previous names,
been alongside,” a slightly
of Koper, most at anchor, a operation down to a fi ne art. And all of these orders have from a helicopter on to a deck engine specs, accommodation
disappointed AB(WS) ‘Dodge’
couple shrouded by the haze Er, ish. to be passed between the ships (not the preserve, as I mistakenly facilities, cargo. Not all the
Long says. “But it’s important
hugging the docks. For while the mission of all six encrypted, then decrypted by thought, of the Royal Marines). details have been entered, but
that you learn about how the
The pontoon is towed away, ships in the force is united – to their recipients and passed on “It certainly gets the heart the important info is there. bad guys work.”
the fenders raised, so too the safeguard the Mediterranean to the command team. pumping,” says Smudge with And then – and here’s the And the bad guys are, well,
anchor, and ‘Super Somerset’ and champion the NATO cause Fine if it’s daily orders or typical RN understatement. really clever bit – the AIS data is bad.
turns for the open waters of – their methods are similar, but some long-term plan. Now try it Depending on how tightly your fed to the ship’s electronic chart “It is worth remembering
the Adriatic and a mid-sea far from identical. with three ships abreast, turning (gloved) hands grasp the rope, system, WECDIS. Sometimes, that for countries in this region,
rendezvous with the rest of Weapons are not standard. at 90º… whilst trying to launch you slither down it at up to AIS plots the merchantmen people traffi cking and illegal
the Standing NATO Maritime Ships are not standard. and recover helicopters. 20mph from heights of between on the screen sooner than the immigration are real issues
Group 2 sextet. Helicopters are not standard. Interesting and challenging. 15ft and 40ft (any greater height radar. – we’re quite fortunate that in
Except that Somerset’s And each navy has its particular So from the bridge of requires the commandos). “It’s pretty amazing how the UK we have pretty secure
starting to sail in circles. way of doing things. Somerset the team watch as Two shipmates follow Smudge much information is out there,” waters,” explains Cdr Wilson.
There’s a man overboard. Which means lots of use of the Greek frigate Kountoriotis down the line. With impressive enthuses Somerset’s XO Lt Cdr People traffi ckers treat their
Fred, the Frank Spencer of the those good old RN euphemisms sails across our bow – ideal if synchronicity, ‘sticks’ of boarding Simon Chapman. cargo as just that – cargo, not
matelot world, has fallen in the ‘interesting’ and ‘challenging’. you’re crossing the ‘T’, not quite teams drop from Pasha, the In the past checks might have human beings. If they spy the
sea. Again. Take a practice for a so good if you’re trying to form Salihreis’s Huey, and Beagle, taken a fl ick through a book, or authorities anywhere near their
In fi ve minutes and 20 demonstration day for leaders three warships in line, equally Euro’s whirlybird on to the decks a phone call to the UK. These ships, they’ll simply toss their
seconds Fred is picked up from across Europe – wooing spaced. of Salihreis and Niedersachsen, days it’s there at the press of a ‘cargo’ overboard.
by the sea boat. The rescue of politicians is vital for NATO’s Somerset’s CO Cdr Rob while boarding teams scurry up button. And then the people in the
swimmer follows him into the longevity. Wilson shakes his head. “I don’t rope ladders from sea boats at But you cannot rely on sea become the responsibility
water, paddling on his back to Manoeuvring a six-ship force like the way this is going. Messy, the same time. computers for everything. of the authorities. They have a
collect a marker buoy tossed is never easy. Now add the really messy.” Common sense, intuition still human, a moral duty to rescue
into the Adriatic to mark Fred’s problem of engines. Over the airwaves there’s
location. Each ship is different. some lively Mediterranean
The remainder of the task Somerset’s diesels can propel babble followed by equally- T
his is a taste of Operation count for something. If, for them, but where do you take
Active Endeavour at its example, Kapitan Ezovitov them when rescued?
most active. was a 100,000-ton supertanker Yet there is a palpable
force sails on blithely. Those her through the water at up to excited garbled remarks in It was NATO’s fi rst major normally found running between feeling among the sailors that
wacky Britons… about 14kts. After that she relies faltering English. operation post the September St Petersburg and Gdansk, and rather than simply keeping
For although Somerset is on her gas turbines. But when it works, well it’s 11 attacks. It remains in force in front of you was a 1,000-ton
tabs on the bad guys, they
part of a NATO task group, she Except that (a) the turbines bloody impressive. today. banana boat chugging through
wouldn’t mind the chance to
continues doing things that the guzzle gas, really guzzle gas As the demonstration We have written about Active the Adriatic, then something’s
grapple with them, less out of
RN always does… like keeping – “You can just watch the fuel reaches its climax, three ships – Endeavour in these pages not right.
some gung-ho bloodlust than
the sailors on their toes. gauge falling,” says Deputy Somerset, Kountoriotis and Euro before. We’ve written about “Most of the ships are regulars
a chance to stop criminals
Such British idiosyncracies Marine Engineer Offi cer Lt – are charged with boarding three boarding operations before – they tell you what they’re doing
getting away.
are the exception, not the Emma Barter; and (b) they don’t ‘suspicious’ vessels – Gonzalez, (almost solely in the Gulf). because they’re used to seeing
“The frustrating thing for the
rule. Internally, Somerset is like running below 6kts… and Salihreis and Niedersachsen. Active Endeavour is not on the us. We try to make a point of not
lads and lasses is that they
very British (sausage, bacon don’t like being started up again Two lines of warships, three same scale. There are boardings calling them too often, otherwise
want to see the bad guys –
and eggs for breakfast, for for another ten minutes. abreast close to within a few daily in and around Iraq’s oil they get fed up,” explains Lt Cdr
they want to sail up to them
example). Externally, she’s And for this demonstration hundred yards of each other. platforms. Ships attached to Chapman.
and stop them in their tracks,”
fl ying the fl ag for NATO fi rst, we’re jumping about. Sometimes A handful of ‘action men’ slide Active Endeavour have carried AIS is only one part of the
says Cdr Wilson.
for Her Majesty second. at 3kts, sometimes at 8, hurriedly down ropes from out fewer than 150 physical intelligence jigsaw. In the
“It’s more a case of quietly
And that’s not easy to get sometimes over 20, sometimes helicopters. inspections of vessels in the operations room, electronic
tracking someone and passing
your head around. For the dead stop. Bit of a pain. Among the ‘action men’ past fi ve years. warfare experts listen to radar.
that information on to the
Devonport frigate takes her Now introduce the language is AB(WS) ‘Smudge’ Smith, But their domain is so much Actually, their computer
orders not from Northwood, barrier. English and French are normally found in the bowels of vaster: from the Rock to the system listens to radar. You really
not from Fleet Headquarters the two NATO languages. The the operations room. Holy Land, from the Bosphorus wouldn’t want to fi ll your iPod marina Continued on page 26
0025-028_NN_Jun.indd 125-028_NN_Jun.indd 1 119/5/08 17:38:009/5/08 17:38:00
Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52
Produced with Yudu - Publish online for free with YUDU Freedom -