The veteran HMS Edinburgh has completed the first half of her six-month Falkland Islands deployment in the South Atlantic and is now in South Africa for maintenance and the ship’s company for some rest and recovery.
The Type 42 destroyer will spend the next fortnight at Simons Town, home of the South African Navy (24 miles from Cape Town) where engineers and technicians will ensure she is in prime material condition for the exertions in the second half of her tour of duty.
That second half will see the Fortress of the Sea make the 4,000-mile passage back to the Falklands (hopefully with calmer waters than her first crossing of the great ocean), and ultimately on into the Pacific for an exercise with the Chilean Navy.
This is the second deployment in Simons Town, since the ship paid a short visit earlier in the year on her way south. This more protracted spell has allowed many of the 240 sailors on board to fly friends and family out for a well-deserved reunion, while ties with the South African Armed Forces forged on Edinburgh’s first visit have been reaffirmed, largely in the sporting arena.
The destroyer’s Commanding Officer Cdr Paul Russell underlined that “the support given to HMS Edinburgh by the local community at all levels, from the use of sporting facilities and clubhouses to logistical and infrastructure assistance is a true example of the long-lasting ties that exist between the UK and South Africa”.
He added “it is great to be back in South Africa and in the familiar surroundings of a former Royal Naval dockyard. This location is ideal for our maintenance needs and hopefully we will be able to make good our recent losses on the rugby pitch as well!”
HMS Edinburgh has spent the bulk of her time around the British South Atlantic territories: the Falklands and South Georgia. She’s due back in Portsmouth in December. (RN).-