A video circulating on social media has brought attention to an embarrassing incident involving two elite minehunters of the UK’s Royal Navy, HMS Chiddingfold and HMS Bangor, stationed in Bahrain.
The mishap occurred when HMS Chiddingfold, a Hunt-class mine counter-measures ship, collided with the Sandown-class minehunter HMS Bangor during an attempt to dock at an undisclosed Gulf island state on January 18.
Despite the vessels sustaining damage, no personnel was injured in the incident. The Royal Navy has acknowledged the occurrence and is currently investigating to determine the cause of the accident.
A spokesperson for the British military provided a brief statement confirming the incident and emphasizing the inappropriateness of further comments while investigations were ongoing.
A video capturing the moment of impact shows HMS Chiddingfold slamming into the bow of HMS Bangor, resulting in a loud clatter. According to an unnamed military source cited by the UK Defence Journal, teams will be dispatched to assess the damage and formulate a repair plan.
Unfortunate incident in Bahrain today where HMS Chiddingfold collides with HMS Bangor whilst going astern into dock.#HMSChiddingfold #HMSBangor #Bahrain #MCM2@HMSChiddingfold @HMSBangor pic.twitter.com/SZm1eeYtkG
— Ian Keddie 🇺🇦 (@IanJKeddie) January 19, 2024
An image has also surfaced on the internet, revealing a sizable hole in the hull of HMS Bangor, with reports suggesting that the impact nearly damaged the galley and bedrooms on the ship.
The mishap is attributed to a mechanical fault causing HMS Chiddingfold to unexpectedly lurch backward during the docking attempt, according to The Sun.
Tayfun Ozberk, an expert in surface warfare and former Turkish naval officer, suggested that before the impact, the ship’s propeller was inactive, indicating a potential engine issue during the maneuver of HMS Chiddingfold.
Ozberk noted that HMS Bangor is likely to undergo extensive repair. Unlike steel-hulled vessels, minehunters like Bangor are constructed with glass-reinforced plastic and non-ferrous materials to minimize their magnetic signature, making repairs more time-consuming.
This incident adds to a series of embarrassing occurrences involving Royal Navy vessels in recent years. In November 2023, a Vanguard-class nuclear submarine reportedly faced a near-catastrophic situation due to a gauge malfunction, narrowly averted by a vigilant engineer who raised the alarm.
Meanwhile, HMS Chiddingfold had previously been involved in a 2021 incident where it damaged its hull after twice colliding with the companion vessel HMS Penzance during a parallel parking attempt at a Middle Eastern base.
The embarrassing incident comes amid heightened tensions in the region, with the Royal Navy actively involved in addressing threats, particularly from Iranian-backed attacks.
Tehran-supported Yemeni Houthis have targeted high-seas shipping in the Red Sea with missile and drone attacks, prompting involvement from British and US naval forces.
About The Vessels
Minehunters like HMS Chiddingfold are purpose-built for mine hunting and coastal patrols, crucial in ensuring maritime security.
These Mine Counter-Counter-Measure Vessels (MCMVs) are equipped with sonars capable of detecting and classifying objects the size of a football up to 1,000 meters away. This capability allows them to clear the path of mines and facilitate safe passage for larger naval forces.
Commissioned in 1983, HMS Chiddingfold is part of Operation Kipion, maintaining freedom of navigation and commerce in the Persian Gulf region. As one of eight Hunt Class minehunters in the Royal Navy, it has a crew of six officers and 39 ratings.
On the other hand, HMS Bangor, commissioned in 1999, is one of seven Sandown Class Mine Counter-Measures Vessels in the Royal Navy.
With a complement of 39 personnel, including Mine Warfare Specialists and Mine Clearance Divers in its teams, the vessel is equipped with Mine Warfare Specialists and Mine Clearance Divers and is typically homeported in Scotland.
In 2011, HMS Bangor played a role in patrols off the Libyan coast as part of the NATO intervention in the North African state. This intervention marked a turbulent period, culminating in the violent overthrow and death of the longtime leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
Fast forward to last September, the Royal Navy showcased the capabilities of both HMS Chiddingfold and HMS Bangor during a training exercise with the Qatari Naval Force.
The exercise focused on practicing close maneuvers and honing force protection skills. The exercise emphasized the collaborative efforts between the two Royal Navy vessels and their Qatari counterparts.
Notably, the teams engaged in joint operations, including sailing in close quarters. The exercise aimed to assess and enhance the skills and abilities of the ships’ bridge teams, fostering cooperation and proficiency in maritime operations.