After completing a refit followed by subsequent re-store, sea trials and Christmas/New Year leave, RFA Lyme Bay is now back in Fleet time.
Continuing her regeneration has been the priority for the Commanding Officer and ship’s crew and their hard work paid off when Lyme Bay was accepted back into the Fleet in January.
Since leaving her home of Falmouth, Lyme Bay has been based in the equally familiar ports of Portland and Devonport on the South Coast, conducting safety and readiness checks for aviation, machinery breakdown drills, damage control, fire-fighting and administrative checks and the like.
Ahead of impending Operational Sea Training (OST) – and in-order to prove aviation capability – the amphibious support ship embarked an 815 NAS Wildcat helicopter, based at RNAS Yeovilton, for the day.
The bridge and aviation teams were put through their paces and successfully tested to the full in their ability to safely operate helicopters.
After the flying serials, Lyme Bay proceeded to Browndown near Gosport to pick up the Mexeflote powered rafts which have proven to be extremely useful on operations around the globe, such as ferrying aid into hurricane-hit communities in the Caribbean.
February saw little down time for Lyme Bay, however, there was a short opportunity for the ship’s company to wind down briefly during a weekend visit to Cherbourg.
Many crew took advantage of this rare opportunity to bring family and partners on-board for the short sea voyage across the channel.
During Lyme Bay’s stay at Portland, some crew hosted members and enthusiasts from the Portland WW2 Museum, who enjoyed a led by Std Paul Whyte, further cementing the RFA’s relationships with the local populous.
Having completed regeneration, Lyme Bay’s enhanced capabilities will be tested for the first time during a demanding four weeks of OST, due to complete at the end of March. This will be closely followed by forthcoming Exercise Joint Warrior 18 off the west coast of Scotland in April.
“Following our drydocking and refit in 2017, together with the hard work and preparations by the ship’s company, Lyme Bay is ready for OST,” said Commanding Officer Captain Jed MacAnley RFA.
“On successful completion, we will resume our duties delivering global maritime operational support to the Royal Navy – and our coalition partners – wherever and whenever required.”