HMS Shoreham Crew Spots Shipwreck in the Gulf
Sharp-eyed sailors aboard a Royal Navy minehunter have found an unknown shipwreck on one of the world’s busiest tanker routes.
The crew of HMS Shoreham were practising using the ship’s hi-tech sonar suite off the coast of Abu Dhabi when Able Seaman Tash Kennedy picked up an unexpected contact on the display in the minehunter’s operations room.
Into the warm waters of the Gulf went Shoreham’s Seafox – a small robot submersible guided by wire by the crew.
It is typically used to first identify and then destroy sea mines.
But on this occasion the image sent back by Seafox to a TV screen in the ops room appeared to be a shipwreck – confirmed by Shoreham’s team of divers who went down to investigate.
The wreck is thought to be a dhow – commonplace in the Gulf and Indian Ocean and used primarily for fishing.
The 25-metre wreck was located in the centre of a traffic separation scheme regularly used by heavily-laden tankers transporting and distributing oil around the globe; nearly one third of the world’s sea-borne oil comes from the Gulf.
Details of the wreck have been passed on to the UK Hydrographic in Taunton which produces Admiralty Charts, used by many of the world’s mariners to safely navigate the oceans.
HMS Shoreham is one of four Royal Navy minehunters based in Bahrain for around three years at a time, with the crew rotating every seven or eight months before returning to the UK – in Shoreham’s case, Faslane, home of all Sandown-class vessels.
The latest custodians of Shoreham, Crew 8, will remain on board until mid-December.
“The past seven months have flown by, I joined the Royal Navy to experience something different that my previous career could not give me and I have loved every minute of it,” said Tash, a former pupil of Budmouth Technology College from Weymouth in Dorset.
She joined the RN in February 2011 and joined Crew 8 at the end of last year after completing her professional training.
Press Release, October 11, 2013; Image: royalnavy