The UK Royal Navy’s (RN) Hunt-class mine countermeasures (MCM) vessel HMS Hurworth has joined Nato’s Standing MCM Group 1 to support various mine-hunting exercises.

The minehunter underwent weeks of training and test to validate its skills, equipment, gunnery drills and overall readiness for this deployment in Europe.

As part of the training, Hurworth’s Crew 3 was put through a difficult test in the Orcadian Strait, Pentland Firth, where they experienced high sea states, strong tides and bad weather.

The crew then reached Lamlash Harbour on Isle of Arran and assessed a remotely piloted underwater vessel, called Seafox, used for locating mines.

The Officers of the Watch also practised manoeuvring the ship within the harbour.

The ship was then deployed to HMNB Clyde for two weeks. The fortnight assessment involved testing navigation capabilities without GPS, live firing of weapons, firefighting and damage control skills.

Additionally, it participated in a winching exercise with Coast Guard, and practiced attack operations against fast boats.

HMS Hurworth then deployed Seafox and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Remus, which allowed divers aboard Hurworth to perform mine-laying, recovery drills and emergencies diving.

After completing the training, the Hunt-class minehunter sailed through the Irish Sea, crossing Lands’ End and into Portsmouth, where ship raised the Nato flag.

Commanding Officer lieutenant commander Simon Reeves said: “The ship’s company have had a busy period at sea preparing Hurworth for Nato and contingent tasking, undertaking complex navigation serials, internal damage control and tailored warfare scenarios.

“I am very proud of my team who have displayed grit and determination to ensure Hurworth is ready to deploy once again on operations overseas, protecting our nation’s interests and upholding reputation of RN.”