HMS St Albans (F83)
HMS St Albans (F83)
|Name:||HMS St Albans (F83)|
|Laid down:||18 April 1999|
|Launched:||6 May 2000|
|Commissioned:||6 June 2002|
|Status:||in active service, as of 2022[update]|
|Class and type:||'Duke'-class Type 23 frigate|
|Length:||133 m (463 ft 3 in)|
|Beam:||16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)|
|Draught:||7.3 m (23 ft 11 in)|
CODLAG (Combined Diesel-eLectric And Gas)|
2 × Rolls-Royce Spey boost gas-turbines
4 × Paxman Valenta diesel engines
2 × GEC electric motors
28 knots (52 km/h)|
15 knots (28 km/h) on diesel-electric
|Range:||7,800 nautical miles (14,400 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)|
Her current commanding officer is Commander Adrian K M Pierce RN, who took command in early 2008. Her base is Portsmouth.
On the 27 October 2002, before she had even entered operational service, HMS St Albans was struck by the P&O ferry Pride of Portsmouth when gale force winds pushed the ferry into the ship whilst secure on her berth in Portsmouth. HMS St Albans suffered damage to the gun deck, the sea boat supports (davits) and the bridge wing. However, no members of the crew were injured.
On the 13 February 2006, HMS St Albans departed on a six-month deployment to the Gulf region. She arrived in the region in early April, where her tasks included protecting Iraqi oil platforms as well as patrol duties in the northern Gulf. During the trip, she provided a diplomatic role by visiting 16 countries, including Algeria, Albania, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Lebanon (before the 2006 conflict with Israel.)
Evacuation of British citizens from Lebanon
As of the 12 July 2006, the ship had completed her tour in the Gulf and had begun her long journey back to Portsmouth. However, on the same day, the conflict between Israel and Lebanon began. As a result, it was announced on Monday 17 July by The Ministry of Defence that HMS St Albans, which was on a route that would take it through the eastern Mediterranean (via the Suez canal), had been redeployed to assist in the evacuation of British citizens trapped in Lebanon (Operation Highbrow). She arrived in the area on Thursday 20 July and on Friday 21 July she picked up 243 evacuees from the dock in Beirut and safely transported them to Cyprus. After completing her role in the evacuation, she remained on operational stand-by in the vicinity of Beirut for a short time before being ordered to return home, their original aim. The ship finally arrived back in Portsmouth on 18 August 2006.
After the tour
Following the ship's successful 6-month tour, the ship underwent maintenance. During this time, the ship received a new CO, Commander Mark Newland RN. He took over from Commander Steve Dainton RN, CO for the previous two years. The ship stayed in British waters, participated in submarine training in the Irish Sea, weapon training off the south coast and visited Glasgow on the 11 November 2006 to take part in Remembrance Sunday events. From 5 January until 15 January 2007 the ship was open to the public as part of the London Boat Show. Following this, the ship conducted various training exercises and engineering trials in the UK. The ships crew then went on Easter leave before returning to conduct more training activities.
In May 2007, HMS St Albans entered a period of maintenance that lasted over a year. The maintenance programme took place in dry dock, situated in Rosyth. Many systems were overhauled and replaced and the ship's crew temporarily re-assigned to other vessels while the ship underwent work. A skeleton crew of engineers supervised the work for the year. Included in the maintenance was the installation of a new Type 2087 sonar system and a conversion to allow the operation of Merlin helicopters, making the ship one of the Fleet’s most advanced frigates.
The upgrade took 15 months and cost £15 million. The ship then returned to its home port of Portsmouth and was accepted back into the fleet in July 2008. The ship was then put through various equipment tests & training routines throughout the later part of the year.
HMS St Albans left Portsmouth on 19 January 2009 to conduct maritime security patrols in the Mediterranean. The ship joined a NATO Task Group in the Mediterranean and will be protecting busy shipping trade routes. HMS St Albans will also be part of the NATO Response Force (NRF) that can be deployed anywhere that NATO decides at short notice. The ship will also be visiting ports in Majorca, Italy and Egypt whilst in the region. She arrived on the Clyde on 7 May 2009 at 1500hrs, heading for Faslane.
HMS St Albans is currently deployed in the Gulf. She left Portsmouth on 1000hrs on Monday 1 February. Her deployment is to include supporting international efforts in "tackling piracy, illegal trafficking, and smuggling."
- BBC News - Launch of HMS St Albans (6 May 2000)
- BBC News - 'Navy frigate damaged in ferry collision' (27 October 2002)
- Royal Navy - 'HMS St Albans: Gulf Deployment' (15 Feb 2006)
- Royal Navy - HMS St Albans in the Lebanon (24 July 2006)
- Ministry of Defence - Over 3,500 evacuated from Lebanon by British Forces (21 July 2006)
- Royal Navy - 'Lebanon Evacuation Warship Returns to Portsmouth' (18 August 2006)
- Royal Navy - 'Multi- Million Pound Upgrade for Royal Navy’s HMS St Albans' (16th July 2007)