08 May 2011

HMS Brocklesby Destroys Mine

Mine warfare is an old but very real threat to NATO ships and civilian vessels operating in and around the besieged Libyan port of Misrata.
This is the first, chilling image of a mine laid by Gaddafi’s forces off the beleaguered city of Misrata – and blown up by HMS Brocklesby minutes later.

Crudely tethered to an inflatable boat – sunk to serve as a makeshift ‘mooring’ – the mine packs 100kg explosive and was laid just a mile off the entrance to the Libyan port.

The contact mine – designed to detonate on impact with a passing vessel – possessed enough explosive, said Brocklesby's Commanding Officer Lt Cdr James Byron, to sink any ship which struck it.

The mine was one of three dumped in the waters off Misrata by pro-Gaddafi forces – who have made repeated attempts to close the port.

The city has been held by rebel forces for several weeks, but is under siege from government troops who have made concerted efforts to re-take the city on land, and to halt the flow of humanitarian aid by sea.

NATO forces enforcing UN Security Council resolutions off Libya observed pro-Gaddafi forces laying three tethered mines. Allied mine warfare forces – part of the 19-strong NATO armada in the Gulf of Sirte – were ordered in to deal with the threat.

With Brocklesby closed up at action stations and all the ship’s company in anti-flash, her state-of-the-art sonar and Seafox disposal system were used to locate one of the mines – the latter hi-tech piece of kit provided a live video feed back to the Portsmouth-based minehunter’s ops room.

With the order ‘Command approved’ from Lt Cdr Byron, a charge from Seafox blew up the mine – causing a small plume of first white and then black water to rise above the surface as the device and the sunken inflatable were sent to kingdom come.

“This is exactly the kind of operation my crew have trained for: dealing with live mines posing a threat to legitimate shipping within sight and range of shore bombardment," said Lt Cdr Byron.

“My team have handled themselves superbly in the execution of this mission reacting stoutly to the very real threat posed by rockets and artillery ashore.”
By: Shelldrake


Pete Maidhof said...

Where is the Littoral Combat Ship with is Mine Warfare package. An excellent opportunity to show its worth...or folly.

Anonymous said...

Have the LCS boats even cleared their sea trials yet? I think they're still building most of them and have only deployed 2. Besides, isn't the US trying to stay out of the Libyan conflict?

(hahahahaha - wooboy! I kill me!)