Amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay has arrived in the Middle East for Saif Sareea 3.

Saif Sareea 3 is the third UK-Oman joint exercise, with the previous 2 taking place in 1986 and 2001. The MoD say that the exercise is the primary the UK armed forces lead exercise this year and the largest joint exercise of its kind in 17 years.

The exercise, culminating in a ‘firepower demonstration’, will test the UK and Sultanate’s ability to operate together in austere conditions through the deployment of a Coalition Joint Task Force.

According to a Royal Navy news release:

“The 16,000-tonne ship has enjoyed an action-packed 5,000-mile journey from Falmouth to the new port of Duqm in Oman, where Britain has permanent facilities to support her naval operations in the region.

The man-made port, which has turned a fishing village into a sizeable town in barely a decade, is the hub of naval operations for Saif Sareea 3, an unfrequent but large-scale Anglo-Omani exercise aimed at testing the two nations’ armed forces ability to fight side-by-side in the unforgiving Middle East environment.

Lyme is packed with equipment, boats, vehicles and numerous personnel from 40 Commando, based near Taunton, the elite 539 Assault Squadron, with its hovercraft and fast Offshore Raiding Craft gunboats, a Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron, all making for an extra 350 men and women aboard (normally the ship’s company is just 60 strong).”

Captain David Buck RFA, Lyme Bay’s Commanding Officer, said:

“Over recent years, the Bay class have become frequent visitors to Albanian shores which provide an excellent training environment for our forces both at sea and on land.

Albanian Lion 2018 again proved a challenging test and a most valuable amphibious training opportunity. Having made a safe transit through the Suez Canal followed by a brief skirmish with tropical storm Luban, Lyme Bay is well placed for the challenge of Saif Sareea 3.”

8 COMMENTS

    • A bit like the decision to sell Fort George for scrap.

      Now it turns out that her sister ship, Fort Victoria, is better suited for supporting the new carriers over the older ships (until the new Solid Support Ships come into service).

      They bays have really proven their worth, it would be really handy if someone could sweet talk our colleagues down under about a return of that ship. Wishful thinking though.

  1. A bit like the decision to sell Fort George for scrap.

    Now it turns out that her sister ship, Fort Victoria, is better suited for supporting the new carriers over the older ships (until the new Solid Support Ships come into service).

    They bays have really proven their worth, it would be really handy if someone could sweet talk our colleagues down under about a return of that ship. Wishful thinking though.

  2. Does anyone know the life span of these ships. Since they where built to commercial standards will they be up for replacement in 2030?
    If so hopefully they will stop cutting corners and build them with an integral hanger.
    Does anyone know why RFA vessels have orange life boats but the Dutch logistics ships have grey life boats, is it because RFA sailors are treated as civilian or something? It doesn’t really make sense to me.

    • The Bay class are a modification of a Schelde design so there would be a greater lifespan design built in compared say to the Ocean which was based on a car carrier hull and purely a commercial design. The internals will probably be good until around 2022-2025 providing the manufacturers are still in business and support spares, otherwise it will be expensive reverse engineering to keep them going. Damn good ships with a modest crew for their size and an asset that is great value for money.

  3. BB85 SOLAS requirements are that all lifeboats are painted the same international bright orange, there are no exceptions. My understanding is that most Military vessels generally use inflatable life rafts,these are again international bright orange but tend to be stored in colour coordinated grey.

    Only thing I can think of is that the Dutch vessels have a full complement of inflatable life rafts with a safety boat hidden away ( all orange) and the boats you can see are not designated as lifeboats, otherwise they are breaching SOLAS and will have their collective corporate asses kicked if those boats are ever needed and no one can find them and the sailors in them because they is grey.

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