zondag, april 10, 2005

HMS Nottingham ; Jinxt ?

A FIREBALL broke out on the warship at the centre of one of the Navy’s worst blunders, it emerged. The potentially-disastrous blaze erupted in the engine room of HMS Nottingham during an action-packed tour of duty.
The three-month deployment was the Type 42 destroyer’s first since she nearly sank after smashing into a rock off Australia. During the cruise Nottingham also lost a £5million Lynx helicopter.

Last night her captain, Commander Steve Holt, defended his ship and denied she was “jinxed”.
He praised his crew for their handling of the fire and heroism in dealing with the wreck of a cargo ship and rescuing piracy victims .

Cdr Holt said of the deployment: “We’ve had some tragic and unfortunate events but my very young ship’s company has risen to the challenge and we feel stronger than ever.”

The skipper spoke out as Nottingham returned home to Portsmouth .

Describing the blaze he told how a fuel filter burst, spraying its contents on to a hot exhaust.

He said: “A marine engineering mechanic broadcast an alert to the ship’s control room.”
Other crewmen shut down the fuel and fired a shot of halon, a gas which suppresses oxygen and suffocates flames.

Cdr Holt added: “The fire could have been far more serious. We haven’t lost anybody — we consider ourselves a lucky ship.”
Nottingham was in a task force taking part in wargames and anti-terrorism patrols in the eastern Mediterranean and Persian Gulf.

Cdr Holt said the loss of the Lynx — now the subject of an inquiry — was “fuel-related”
but denied someone forgot to fill its tanks.
Two of Nottingham’s crew have been recommended for awards for braving a huge storm to recover the bodies of four merchant seamen whose ship exploded and sank.
The crew also helped rescue 23 kidnapped fishermen from pirates off the coast of East Africa.

Nottingham ran up a £26million bill in 2002 when she ran aground at Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, and had to be piggy-backed home aboard a repair vessel.