Tuesday, April 12, 2011

HMS Iron Duke's last Iraq patrol

Last Iraq oil terminal patrol for Royal Navy

A Military Operations news article

12 Apr 11

HMS Iron Duke has completed its final patrol of Iraq's oil terminals, heralding the end of the Royal Navy's eight-year involvement in their protection.

HMS Iron Duke patrols the waters around the Al Basrah Oil Terminal

HMS Iron Duke patrols the waters around the Al Basrah Oil Terminal, off Iraq's Al Faw peninsula
[Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) James Crawford, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, Britain's frigate fleet has been committed to almost round-the-clock patrols of the waters around the Khawr Al Amaya and Al Basrah Oil Terminals - known throughout the fleet as KAAOT and ABOT.

The two platforms deliver millions of barrels of oil to waiting tankers each day - generating around 80 per cent of the country's income in the process.

The safeguarding of the invaluable terminals, off the Al Faw peninsula at the tip of the Gulf, has been performed principally by Royal Navy, US and Australian forces and, increasingly, Iraqi sailors and marines.

The latter were trained by a UK-US team at Umm Qasr, Iraq's principal port and naval base, and have already taken over responsibility for defending the older KAAOT.

Damage control exercise

Damage control exercise on board HMS Iron Duke
[Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) James Crawford, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

With responsibility for the protection of the ABOT now due to be handed over to Iraq's own forces, last week Iron Duke sailed away from the terminal, for probably the last time, after two months of patrolling. The Royal Navy command team on the platform are expected to follow suit in the coming days.

Some of the ship's company paid a visit to the terminal before the Type 23 frigate departed. Among them was the ship's chaplain, Father Charles Bruzon:...

Go read the rest of this piece of history in the making here.

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