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Pembroke receives a lift after Gulf exertions
9 October 2012

After three years working in the harsh environment of the Gulf, HMS Pembroke has been lifted out of the water back home in Faslane.

The impressive ship lift facility on the Clyde hauled the minehunter up so engineers could work on the underside of the warship’s hull in the base’s giant submarine shed.

OK, SO where are the propellers?

If you’ve ever wondered what a minehunter looks like out of the water – here’s your answer.

This is HMS Pembroke, recently returned from the Gulf and now undergoing two months of maintenance after her three-year stint east of Suez.

The 484-tonne warship was raised out of the water at her home base of Faslane on the Clyde in the submarine shed for the first two weeks of her eight-week overhaul.

If you’re impressed by the ability of the ship lift to raise a minehunter out of the water, well it’s child’s play: the facility is more accustomed to lifting 16,000-tonne Vanguard-class nuclear submarines – which explains why Pembroke is dwarfed by her surroundings.

“This is the first time that this crew has been in the ship lift and we’ve been impressed with the facility and what it can do; I’ve found it really interesting to see the underside of the ship,” said Lt Cdr Matt Moore, Pembroke’s Commanding Officer.

His sailors took over the ship at the beginning of September as part of the rotation of minehunting crews, which meant taking charge of Pembroke during her maintenance package – “working tirelessly to get her back to her best”.

And the propellers? Well, a Sandown-class ship doesn’t have them; they’re driven by two Voith-Schneider propulsion units which make them highly-manoeuvrable and able to ‘hover’ in any one position – making the art of minehunting in very confined waters easier.

“These are by far the most manoeuvrable vessels in the Royal Navy and until you’ve been onboard and driven a Sandown, you don’t quite realise how clever the engineering really is,” Lt Cdr Moore added.

Once her revamp is completed, Pembroke will spend the next year or so in home waters conducting training and remaining available for short-notice tasking as required by the Government.