Patrol ship HMS Tamar spent five days in and around the tiny Pacific island of Pitcairn – famous the world over as the destination of the mutineers of HMS Bounty.

According to the Royal Navy, specialists from Tamar carried out the first stage of neutralising old explosives left on Pitcairn for nearly half a century by carrying out a series of controlled explosions.

“The ship conducted sovereignty patrols in the island chain’s waters – the fourth largest Marine Protected Area in the world, covering an area the size of Scandinavia – and gathered water samples for scientists to analyse the impact of climate change. Pitcairn lies 1,350 miles from Tahiti more than 3,000 miles from New Zealand and 9,000 miles from Tamar’s home base of Portsmouth but is a UK Overseas Territory with a Governor based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Of the four islands, Pitcairn is the only inhabited island and has recently opened a marine science base to investigate the impact of climate change and the health of marine bio-diversity in what is one of the last remaining fully intact marine eco-systems left on the planet. The arrival of HMS Tamar effectively doubled the Pitcairn population overnight and the sailors immediately knuckled down to community tasks in and around the sole settlement, Adamstown.

Tamar embarked two experts from the Royal Navy’s Portsmouth-based Diving and Threat Exploitation Group to deal with decades-old explosives. They found more than 1,100 detonators and over three kilometres of detonating cord, left over from construction of the island’s small harbour in the 1970s, which was in a dangerous state and needed disposing; that was carried out with controlled explosions in a sheltered bay. The explosive experts also found around three and a half tonnes of high explosive ammonium nitrate fuel oil, once used during quarrying mining operations on Pitcairn. A specialist team will return to the island in due course to render it safe.”

Elsewhere, sailors helped provide muscle to help with the ongoing construction of Pitcairn’s new community centre, offered advice on maritime infrastructure and the boats used to ferry stores between visiting supply ships and the harbour.

“The islanders were immensely grateful for the support we provided, whether it be advice on their maritime infrastructure; outreach support for the development of their community centre; or ordnance disposal,” said Officer of the Watch Lieutenant Leo Jeune.

“It was a pleasure to meet and integrate with the community, and understand the challenges and unique aspects to living in the UK’s most distant overseas territory, and, one of the most isolated communities in the world. Their friendliness and island spirit were mimetic of the communities we often miss when forward deployed away from our homes.”

You can read more from the Royal Navy here.

Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
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Jim (@guest_791357)
4 months ago

Well done Tamar, it’s an interesting point on the marine reserve, it’s something being completely overlooked with the BIOT, letting Mauritius get its hands on it will allow the Chinese fishing fleet to decimate the largest protected area in the Indian Ocean.

Ron (@guest_791528)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Its a point overlooked everywhere. What many people don’t understand is that the UK has the forth largest area of seas to protect in the world due to Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. many of these territories do not have any naval capability and need the support of the RN.

DRS (@guest_791815)
4 months ago
Reply to  Ron

We need more of these ships, change the 30mm to the same 40mm bofors with 3p ammo of the t31 and add the S100 containerised for better surveillance. Cheap ish upgrade giving them a bit more bite and survivability.

DRS (@guest_791812)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Absolutely, we need to protect the oceans. If you were to allow re settlement of BOIT but keep it British overseas territory that may mute Mauritius noise.

Jack (@guest_791413)
4 months ago

Too bad no pictures!

farouk (@guest_791506)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Google PitcairnPulau gravitate to the twitter site of that name, (its the official account of the HMG Administrator on Pitcairn Island.) Some really decent ones of HMS Tamar

Jonathan (@guest_791472)
4 months ago

Pitcairn’s is one of those places that will probably return to “uninhabited” at some point soon..with less than 50 residents and no children, it’s a precarious place…they have tried to get some immigration, but with zero employment opportunities, no school, no hospital, no regular 24/7 power, no regular travel links….its not managed to get anyone to move there.

Jon (@guest_791545)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I wondered, when former HMS Hermes was for sale by India (for virtually nothing with no takers), if it would make a good floating adjucnt to Pitcairn. Not only a small airstrip, but power, office space, comms and hotel accommodation. Having a research station based there is a good start.

Smickers (@guest_791620)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jon

That’s a great idea It would make a great platform and for long range UAV’s to monitor those Chinese trawler fleets The Pitcairn group of 4 islands volcanic Pitcairn raised atoll Henderson and 2 atolls Ducie and Oeno spread out over a hundred miles from each other They have a EEZ of 836,108sq miles compared to the Falklands with a EEZ of 466,000sq miles which provided £30.5 million in fishing licenses in2022 to the benefit to the locals (Also much more in fish exports) Can’t we use to something similar to provide revenue to reverse the decline from 237 preWW2… Read more »

Jonathan (@guest_791973)
4 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

not that one it’s one of those high volcanic pacific islands..rises around 1000 feet up.

Jack. (@guest_792734)
4 months ago

Well done, this is some happy news. If any of you have read the account of the mutineers, their time in Tahiti, the mutiny and their travels, the selection of Pitcairn (not easy to land on) and then what happened afterward, it makes for an amazing tale. Also incredible was the journey of the ship’s boat with Captain Bligh and those loyal to him, all the way from Tahiti to Batavia, probably one of the most extreme successful small boat voyages ever made. This British overseas territory is an enormous area that is a jewel in a world of overexploitation… Read more »