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Friday, 22 August 2014

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Full steam ahead for a special homecoming as ship visits Barrow

A SHIP’S captain is setting sail for a true homecoming as he steers his patrol vessel into Barrow dock.

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OCEAN WAVE HMS Exploit at sea. Her commanding officer is Barrow-born Lt Simon Shaw, right SUBMITTED

The former pupil of Newbarns Primary School and Chetwynde School has described his trip as the “highlight” of his Easter deployment.

Lieutenant Simon Shaw is the commanding officer of HMS Exploit, a P2000 fast patrol vessel, which will arrive in Barrow Docks around 6pm on Wednesday and sail once more at 8.45am on Friday.

The ship is attached to Birmingham University, and, as well as large oft-visited ports like Dublin, Belfast and Holyhead, her 28-day Easter voyage has also taken her all around Scotland’s west coast, including a recent visit to the Caledonian Canal and navigation training in Loch Etive in Argyll.

Although 31-year-old Lt Shaw now lives in Shropshire with his wife Sarah, he is originally from Barrow.

He joined the Royal Navy in 2000 and was sponsored through his history degree at Lancaster University.

Lt Shaw said: “This is certainly a highlight of our Easter deployment for me. Being able to bring HMS Exploit to Barrow is a true homecoming and a real privilege for me.

“It’s an honour to be able to bring the ship to my home town and I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends.”

His career to date has included a mixture of shore-based and sea-going appointments.

A navigator by specialisation, he has served as the navigator of Barrow built warships Albion and Bulwark, as well as the mine hunters Chiddingfold and Brocklesby and the patrol ship Dumbarton Castle.

Away from the sea he has served as the aide to the deputy Commander in Chief of the Fleet and also the Second Sea Lord. He has travelled far and wide, including the Caribbean, Middle East, Central, South and North America and the Mediterranean, as well as seeing action off Iraq and Libya.

Assuming command of Exploit in April 2012, he led the ship through patrol work during Operation Olympics and on three foreign deployments, including a two-month period in the Baltic last summer. Exploit represented the Royal Navy and United Kingdom in 11 countries, including the Kiel Week regatta in Germany.

He will hand over command this summer before further specialist training and hopes for a return to the navigation world as navigator of one of the new RN Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. HMS Exploit is the second universities’ patrol vessel to call in at a Cumbrian port during this Easter deployment period – HMS Charger visited both Whitehaven and her affiliated town of Maryport earlier in April.

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