HMS Forth makes its first trip to south georgia
By Oliver Wilderspin, Public Relations Assistant
HMS Forth, the Type 2 River Class patrol ship that has recently been made the Falkland Islands guardship, has visited the sub-antarctic island of South Georgia for the first time. Forth, which arrived at its new base at Mare Harbour on East Falkland earlier this year, will spend most of its time patrolling the Falkland Islands, but will visit South Georgia multiple times a year, as this British Overseas Territory comes under the area the guardship is tasked to protect. Its visits to the Island will be for military training, providing help to the Island’s authorities and British Antarctic Survey scientists, and providing a presence around this Island, which is claimed by Argentina.
For Forth’s maiden trip to the British Overseas Territory, the route to the island was scouted by RAF Mount Pleasant’s A400M Atlas aircraft to ensure the ship would not meet any unwanted icebergs.
On its voyage, the 2000 tonne patrol ship was carrying Brigadier Nick Sawyer, Commander of British Forces South Atlantic Islands, allowing him to see South Georgia first hand, an Island which he is responsible for protecting. The ship, which has 51-bunks (making it an improvement from its predecessor HMS Clyde), also carried 24 soldiers, as well as RAF personnel and civil servants on its trip.
After the 850 mile crossing from the Falkland Islands, which took 53 hours, Forth stopped off at Bird Island, before travelling to Grytviken - South Georgia’s capital. The ship’s company explored the hills around the former whaling station, and visited the grave of explorer Sir Ernest Shackelton, and chatted to tourists from a visiting cruise ship. Some even braved the icy waters, before rushing to the saunas at British Antarctic Territory’s King Edward Point Research Station.