HMS St Albans (F83)
HMS St Albans with HMS Argyll (F231), 2011
|Name:||HMS St Albans|
|Laid down:||18 April 1999|
|Launched:||6 May 2000|
|Commissioned:||6 June 2002|
|Status:||in active service, as of 2014[update]|
|Class & type:||Type 23 Frigate|
|Displacement:||4,900 t (4,800 long tons; 5,400 short tons)|
|Length:||133 m (436 ft 4 in)|
|Beam:||16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)|
|Draught:||7.3 m (23 ft 9 in)|
|Speed:||In excess of 28 kn (52 km/h; 32 mph)|
|Range:||7,500 nautical miles (14,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)|
|Complement:||185 (accommodation for up to 205)|
On 27 October 2002, before she had even entered operational service, St Albans was struck by the P&O ferry Pride of Portsmouth when gale force winds pushed the ferry into the ship whilst secure on her berth in Portsmouth. St Albans suffered damage to the gun deck, the sea boat supports (davits) and the bridge wing. However, no members of the crew were injured.
On 13 February 2006, St Albans departed on a six-month deployment to the Gulf region. She arrived in the region in early April, where her tasks included protecting Iraqi oil platforms as well as patrol duties in the northern Gulf. During the trip, she provided a diplomatic role by visiting 16 countries, including Algeria, Albania, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Lebanon (before the 2006 conflict with Israel).
Evacuation of British citizens from Lebanon
As of 12 July 2006, the ship had completed her tour in the Gulf and had begun her long journey back to Portsmouth. However, on the same day, the conflict between Israel and Lebanon began. As a result, it was announced on Monday 17 July by The Ministry of Defence that St Albans, which was on a route that would take it through the eastern Mediterranean (via the Suez canal), had been redeployed to assist in the evacuation of British citizens trapped in Lebanon (Operation Highbrow). She arrived in the area on Thursday 20 July and on Friday 21 July she picked up 243 evacuees from the dock in Beirut and safely transported them to Cyprus. After completing her role in the evacuation, she remained on operational stand-by in the vicinity of Beirut for a short time before being ordered to return home, their original aim. The ship finally arrived back in Portsmouth on 18 August 2006.
After the tour
Following the ship's successful 6-month tour, St Albans underwent maintenance. During this time, the ship received a new commanding officer, Commander Mark Newland RN. He took over from Commander Steve Dainton RN, commanding officer for the previous two years. The ship stayed in British waters, participated in submarine training in the Irish Sea, weapon training off the south coast and visited Glasgow on 11 November 2006 to take part in Remembrance Sunday events. From 5 January until 15 January 2007 the ship was open to the public as part of the London Boat Show. Following this, the ship conducted various training exercises and engineering trials in the UK. The ships crew then went on Easter leave before returning to conduct more training activities.
In May 2007, St Albans entered a period of maintenance that lasted over a year. The maintenance programme took place in dry dock, situated in Rosyth. Many systems were overhauled and replaced and the ship's crew temporarily reassigned to other vessels while the ship underwent work. A skeleton crew of engineers supervised the work for the year. Included in the maintenance was the installation of a new Type 2087 sonar system and a conversion to allow the operation of Merlin helicopters, making the ship one of the Fleet’s most advanced frigates.
The upgrade took 15 months and cost £15 million. The ship then returned to its home port of Portsmouth and was accepted back into the fleet in July 2008. The ship was then put through various equipment tests & training routines throughout the later part of the year.
St Albans left Portsmouth on 19 January 2009 to conduct maritime security patrols in the Mediterranean. The ship joined a NATO Task Group in the Mediterranean and will be protecting busy shipping trade routes. St Albans was also a part of the NATO Response Force (NRF), capable of being deployed anywhere that NATO decides at short notice. The ship also visited ports in Majorca, Italy and Egypt whilst in the region. She arrived on the Clyde on 7 May 2009 at 1500hrs, heading for Faslane.
St Albans was deployed in the Gulf until mid-2010. She left Portsmouth on 1000hrs on Monday 1 February. Her deployment included supporting international efforts in "tackling piracy, illegal trafficking, and smuggling."
On 1 July 2011, St Albans rescued 13 sailors of the coast of Oman from the stricken tanker MV Pavit, which had spent three days drifting in a heavy storm after losing power. St Albans used her Merlin helicopter embarked from 829 Naval Air Squadron to winch the crew to safety. The rescued sailors were later transferred to their sister ship, the MV Jag Pushpa. After operating in the Middle East conducting counter-terrorism and anti-piracy operations, having relieved the frigate HMS Iron Duke, she returned to Portsmouth, via Malta and Lisbon, in December 2011.
The Worshipful Company of Marketors became affiliated to HMS St Albans in 2011.
In March 2012, HMS St Albans visited the Pool of London where she entertained a number of her affiliate organisations and other guests before returning to her home port of Portsmouth to conduct exercises in the Western Approaches. In May, she visited Iceland, where her the captain Cdr Tom Sharpe and Britain’s Ambassador to Iceland Ian Whitting cast a wreath into Hvalfjörður – once a vital staging point for the Arctic Convoys to the Soviet Union. Over 1½ million people saw the ship's return to Portsmouth as part of world’s largest harbour festival. The frigate sailed up the Elbe to Hamburg to take part in the port's 823rd birthday celebrations. In June, St Albans visited the home of the German Navy in Kiel, joining in the huge maritime event attended by 50 countries, 2000 yachts and pleasure craft and more than 5,000 yachtsmen and women. Before joining in the celebrations, members of the ship’s company including Commanding Officer Commander Tom Sharpe OBE RN, two platoons and the ship’s guard headed to a remembrance service and wreath laying at the Commonwealth Cemetery at Nordfriedhof.
Under her new commanding officer, Commander Andrew Block RN, HMS St Albans continued her home duties visiting the Channel Islands and Holyhead with an extended tour visiting Stavanger, Oslo and Amsterdam. During this deployment she was the last ship to fire the Royal Navy's 4.5" Mk.8 Mod 0 gun off Stavanger. In May 2013 she was handed over to BAe Systems for her refit in Portsmouth Harbour, her home port, silently coached into C lock. She will remain in dock until Spring 2014 to be modernised for another 10 years.
In December 2013, Commander Catherine Jordan RN, one of the few female Commanding Officers in the Royal Navy, took command of the ship.
A new crew has been assembled and the ship finished her £25million refit to schedule in the Spring followed by a period of intense trials and will rejoin the fleet in Summer 014.
Between May and August 2014 HMS St Albans has been on extended trails developing her military capability and testing her systems integration. She is now fitted with the Artisan 3D radar, the all electric 'Kryten'4.5" Mod1 gun, mid-life upgrade to her Sea Wolf missile system together with a wide range of more detailed improvements. During the trails HMS St Albans visited Plymouth and Falmouth. Her Rededication Ceremony is on Friday 1st August 2014.
HMS St Albans is affiliated to the Worshipful Company of Marketors and over the past two years over 145 Marketors have visited HMS St Albans.
- The Royal Anglian Regiment
- RAF Marham
- City of St Albans
- Worshipful Company of Haberdashers
- Worshipful Company of Marketors
- Royal Navy Frigates: Type 23 Frigate, royalnavy.mod.uk
- BBC News - Launch of HMS St Albans (6 May 2000)
- BBC News - 'Navy frigate damaged in ferry collision' (27 October 2002)
- Royal Navy - 'HMS St Albans: Gulf Deployment' (15 Feb 2006)
- Royal Navy - HMS St Albans in the Lebanon (24 July 2006)
- Ministry of Defence - Over 3,500 evacuated from Lebanon by British Forces (21 July 2006)
- Royal Navy - 'Lebanon Evacuation Warship Returns to Portsmouth' (18 August 2006)
- Royal Navy - 'Multi- Million Pound Upgrade for Royal Navy’s HMS St Albans' (16 July 2007)
- HMS St Albans and HMS Edinburgh return to Portsmouth
- The Haberdashers Livery Company Accessed on 23 February 2011
-  Accessed 29 July 2011
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to HMS St. Albans (F83).|
- Royal Navy HMS St Albans (royalnavy.mod.uk)