D97 Edinburgh Photo Ralph Edwards 2009-02-27
7 September 2011, UK / South Africa: With a flash of fire from her saluting gun, HMS Edinburgh, a Royal Navy Type 42 destroyer, made her ceremonial entry into Simons Town naval base, the home of the South African Navy on 7 September.
The veteran warship has completed the first half of her six-month South Atlantic deployment, which means that HMS Edinburgh herself needs a spot of maintenance and her ship’s company need a little down time. So the facilities at Simons Town, two dozen miles from Cape Town, are being used for the next fortnight as engineers and technicians ensure the destroyer is in prime material condition for the exertions in the second half of her tour of duty. That second half will see her make the 4,000-mile passage back to the Falklands and ultimately on into the Pacific for an exercise with the Chilean Navy.
For now, however, there’s the chance to enjoy the delights of the Cape. This is her second visit this deployment, the ship having paid a short visit earlier in the year on her way south.
The 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 HMS Edinburgh’s first visit have been reaffirmed, largely in the sporting arena. Indeed, the host nation has proved to be extremely accommodating so far, according to the destroyer’s Commanding Officer Commander Paul Russell.
“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.
“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!”
His ship has been away since May and after several visits to West Africa, 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 her homeport of Portsmouth in December.