Surface Forces: July 23, 2002


Royal Navy On the Rocks- HMS Nottingham ran aground on 7 July while transiting from Cairns, Australia to Wellington, New Zealand. The vessel was about 300 miles NE of Sidney continuing a deployment in the South Pacific, when she hit a reef off Lord Howe Island. She had participated in the Five Power Defense Arrangement Exercise in May.

HMS Nottingham had closed on Lord Howe Island to put a sick crewman ashore, and was maneuvering to receive her returning helicopter when she ran aground. The collision with undersea rocks tore off the bow-mounted sonar dome and the starboard stabilizer, and flooded several compartments, including the Sea Dart missile magazine and crew berthing compartments. Only through the swift efforts of her well-trained crew did Nottingham avoid sinking.

The RNZAS Te Mana and RNZAS Endeavour rushed to her aid, providing necessary supplies to assist in shoring up the damage and provide other support. A commercial tug from New Zealand, the Pacific Chieftain, will tow HMS Nottingham to Australia for repairs. -- Chuck Wohlrab


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