A Tour of British Warship HMS Defender off Split

Total Croatia News

HMS Defender sails into Dalmatian waters off the coast of Split, hosting a reception for local journalists and dignitaries on June 23, 2016. 

In baking heat and under tradmark blue skies, the crew of HMS Defender hosted a tour of the British warship and subsequent reception for local media and dignitaries, with TCN delighted to take part.  

A short boat ride from the new West Coast waterfront resulted in a transfer a temporary boarding platform of the $2 billion dollar ship, which looked all the more impressive close up. HMS Defender is the fifth of the Type 45 or Daring-class air-defence destroyers built for the Royal Navy. She is the eighth ship to bear the name. Construction of Defender began in 2006, and she was launched in 2009. The ship completed her first sea trials in October–November 2011, and was commissioned during March 2013. 

HMS Defender is in Split until tomorrow, when it continues its journey home after a nine-month tour of the Middle East, where it was chiefly engaged in supporting operations against Islamic State, but also had other missions, including a successful $6 million drug bust off Oman.  

There were various bits of firepower on display.  

Journalists were taken up to the bridge for a welcome orientation. 

Another glorious Dalmatian evening, as seen by Her Majesty’s Navy.  

And while we were advised not to film in certain areas of the ship due to security reasons, I don’t think I am giving away any state secrets with this advisory poster which amused me. In the heat of battle, it is important not to make too much noise climbing the ladders.  

And reminders of lessons to be learned from the ill-fate of other ships. Some lessons learned from the sinking of HMS Sheffield during the Falklands Conflict. Sheffield had been in Split a year before she went down.  

Commanding Officer Steve Higham was in conversational mood, happily answering questions for local media, while expressing his delight to be in the Dalmatian capital.  

And so to the control room, the heartbeat of operatons.  

An overview of the capability of a ship, and journalists were treated to a mock situation of an unidentified plane entering local airspace, and how the crew dealt with the threat.  

And in case you thought nobody was listening…  

And with the threat of the unidentified aircraft explained, as if on cue, a European Coastal Airlines seaplane passed by.  

Carefully watched by British firepower, although the crew seemed more interested in the seaplane phenomenon and its landing close to Split harbour.  

Welcome drinks were served.  

A chance for crew and visitors to mingle and relax.  

Among those present were the husband of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (third from right), seen here chatting to Commanding Office Higham, with British Ambassador to Croatia Ian Cliff on the right.  

Helicopter moments and selfie opportunities.  

And a look around this well-equipped war machine.  

Before a farewall to a fascinating tour. HMS Defender will leave Split on June 25, with two more stops – in Italy and the Balearic islands – before coming home after nine months in two weeks. 


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