Mine Countermeasure Vessel
 M39 HMS Hurworth                 

               Displacement: 685 tons,  Length: 60m,  Beam: 10m, Draught: 2.9m, Complement 45, Top Speed 14 kts

[ An article by Lt.M P Crosby on 'Life Onboard HMS HURWORTH' is down below]

The task of keeping ports and coastal shipping lanes free from the threat of mining is an essential part of successful maritime operations. For that the Royal Navy has a fleet of mine countermeasures vessels.

The Hunt Class (MCMVs) are highly sophisticated and are the largest warships ever constructed out of Glass Reinforced Plastic. Modern mines can be triggered not only by collision, but also by the sound of the ship passing through the water or by the magnetic signature of the ship's hull. Every effort is made to reduce the magnetic signatures, the hull being made of glass reinforced plastic and even the buckets on board are made from non-magnetic materials.

HMS HURWORTH is a purpose built mine countermeasures vessel and one of the 13 (now 8) HUNT CLASS MCMVs constructed during the 1980s. Named after the HURWORTH Hunt, she is the second ship to bear the name, the first being a Second World War HUNT Class Destroyer. Recently modernised she is now fitted with the mine hunting 2193 sonar and is no longer capable of mine sweeping. With several ships of the same class operating 2-3 year roulements (this is a tour of 2-3 years length with the Crews swapping every 6-8 months) in the Gulf, the resilience and capability of these vessels is clear.

The ship was built by Vosper Thorneycraft and commissioned into naval service in 1985. One of the Royal Navy's smaller ships, HMS HURWORTH displaces only 750 tonnes. It is currently commanded by Lieutenant Commander Richard Goldstone (Commanding Officer MCM2 Crew4) and has a Ship's Company of 44 (7 Officers and 37 Senior and Junior Ratings). Her ties to the town of Hurworth remain as strong as ever with affiliation to the Parish Council, Hurworth Hunt, All Saints Church, Rockliffe Court and Hurworth Primary School. Amongst other contributions to Royal Navy operations around the globe, HMS HURWORTH served in the Gulf Campaign in 1991 and assisted with rescue operations following the Zeebrugge ferry disaster.


For more information, see the RN website

The following article has been written by Lt. M P Crosby, RN , a previous member of the crew



Familiarity, they say, breeds complacency. If so, then there should certainly be no such thing present onboard Her Majesty’s Ship HURWORTH. Waking up onboard the Ship at sea, one never really knows what to expect. Most days begin at 0700 with ‘Call the Hands’ (a traditional wake up call which is ‘piped’ over the Ship’s main broadcast system) unless of course you’ve had the ‘Morning’ watch, in which case your day began some 3.5 hours earlier. But it is after you have showered and changed that the guessing really begins. What will the day hold for the Ship and her crew — a lengthy transit, a gunnery exercise or yet another fishery patrol? What will the weather be like — calm or blowing a gale? And what lies ahead — an anchorage overnight, a maintenance period alongside, an affiliation visit or perhaps a stand-off in a UK or foreign port? Whatever the answers to these questions may be, one thing remains certain — life on board HMS HURWORTH is never boring.

HMS HURWORTH’s principal purpose is minewarfare but of late, she has been tasked with fishery protection duties around the south-east and south-west coastlines of Great Britain. Her Captain, Lieutenant Commander Tim Johnston is also a Royal Navy helicopter pilot, and the Ship’s First Lieutenant (second in command) Lieutenant Neil Marriott is a qualified Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officer. Together with the other 4 officers on board, they lead 36 Senior and Junior Ratings, themselves highly qualified and experienced in their individual roles.

My name is Lieutenant Michael Crosby and I have been in the Royal Navy for just over 2 years. I have been onboard HMS HURWORTH for the previous six months completing Specialist Fleet Training and in a month’s time, I will begin my specialist professional course at HMS DRYAD in Portsmouth where what I have learnt at sea will be put to the test on a ship’s bridge simulator. During my time onboard, I have not only learnt how to drive and navigate a Royal Navy warship, but also what it means to be an Royal Navy Officer, and a valued member of a team.

Today is Sunday and we have been at sea for the past week. The ship is conducting a fishery patrol and we have questioned over 70 vessels from countries including the United Kingdom, Netherlands, France and Belgium, of which 20 have been boarded. This hard work will be rewarded on Tuesday when the Ship visits Cardiff for a 2-day stand-off, allowing the Ship’s Company an opportunity to rest and relax before sailing again for another week’s patrol.

The Officers and Ratings around me on the Bridge are in good spirits as we enjoy a period of fine weather and caim seas. After the evening meal tonight, I will work the ‘First’ watch and should get to bed just after midnight. I will be tired and perhaps a little jealous of my civilian peers getting a good night’s sleep, but this job sure beats sitting in an office from 9-5!

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