A Sutton-in-Ashfield sailor has started his first deployment to the Gulf onboard one of the Royal Navy’s mine counter measures vessels (MCMV).
Engineering technician (WE) Stephen Owen or ‘Stee’ as his shipmates call him, is a weapons engineer in crew four of the second mine countermeasures squadron (MCM2) onboard HMS Atherstone.
The Portsmouth-based MCMV is deployed to the Middle East in support of the UK’s Bahrain-based maritime component command.
Stephen said: “I joined the Navy to better myself and realise my full potential.
“The three years that I have spent in the Royal Navy have taught me a lot about myself.”
HMS Atherstone’s role in the Gulf is to survey the sea using its highly sophisticated sonar equipment to detect any potential dangers to shipping and, if necessary, destroy them, in order to help maintain maritime security throughout the region. This is often done in conjunction with other nations, who contribute to ensuring the ongoing security of the area’s shipping lanes.
As a weapons engineer, Stephen, who attended Ashfield School, is responsible for a large amount of technical equipment.
He maintains all the weapon systems on board, including the 9mm pistols, general purpose machine guns and the large 30mm cannon.
He is trained to maintain all ship-to-shore communications as well as keeping the radar and sonar working at optimum level. Stephen is also a member of the ship’s force protection team.
He added: “I would advise anyone to join, especially as an engineer because I am constantly challenging myself, but enjoy it at the same time.”
Stephen and the rest of MCM2 crew four embarked on HMS Atherstone will remain deployed for the rest of the year as part of the UK’s commitment to maintaining safe navigation and free movement throughout the region.