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Mine Countermeasure Vessels

Volume 127: debated on Friday 19 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom's mine countermeasure vessels capability in the Gulf area.

We have been reviewing the size of our MCMV force in the Gulf. In the light of our experience to date in operations to clear mine danger areas both in the Gulf of Oman and off Qatar, we have concluded that in the present circumstances the mine clearance task can be met satisfactorily by retaining three MCMVs and associated afloat support in the Gulf area to operate in support of the Armilla patrol. To this end Her Majesty's ships Dulverton, Middleton and Atherstone are in the course of taking over the mine counter-measures task in the Gulf hitherto fulfilled by Her Majesty's ships Hurworth, Bicester, Brocklesby and Brecon. The support vessel HMS Abdiel is also returning to the United Kingdom, and is due to be paid off in about six months' time. HMS Abdiel's support role in the Gulf is now being carried out by HMS Herald.