One of the former RAF Marine Unit operating as an Anti Piracy Vessel in the Gulf of Aden was the SEAMAN GUARD VIRGINIA which called at Malta in July 2012 that left Gibraltar back to Thursday 19th July 2012.
She was built in 1970 by Fairmile Marine at Berwick-upon-Tweed as RAF 5002 SEA OTTER the third Seal class Long Range Recovery and Support Craft of the Royal Air Force Marine Branch. The Seal class was similar to the Bird Class Patrol Vessels of the Royal Navy.
In anticipation of the disbandment of the RAF Marine Branch in 1986, SEA OTTER was transferred to the Royal Navy on 30th October 1984, and at Brooke Marine, Lowestoft she was refitted with armaments, a light grey livery, enclosed wheelhouse and extended bridge wings, and modified several times over the years to help her in her role patrolling Northern Ireland assigned to Northern Ireland Squadron to replace the older Ton class minesweepers. Due to the defence budget HMS REDPOLE P 259 was replaced in 1994 by a River Class OPV, and was subsequently earmarked for disposal. She was sold in 1996, and spent four years tied up in Southampton. The ship was sold again in 2000 to a founder of DIGEX ( first Internet service providers in the United States ) and renamed BADTZ MARU homeported at Baltimore. In July 2005 she was drydocked at General Marine, USA.
In January 2012 she was acquired by AdvanFort a US private maritime security company founded in 2009 and headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, USA and renamed SEAMAN GUARD VIRGINIA. On the 4th week of July she entered Grand Harbour, Malta and berthed at the former Malta Shipbuilding Co Ltd (MSCL) quays homeported at Freetown with Sierra Leone (SLE flag).
On Friday 27th July 2012 she left her berth for sea trials to the breakwater and back flying the Union Jack Flag.
Few minutes later she showed up flying USA flag leaving the breakwaters bound to Suez Canal for her Anti Pacy duties.
SEAMAN GUARD VIRGINIA was represented in Malta by Medsea Shipping Agency – http://www.medsea.com.mt
Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. NO PHOTOS can be used or manipulated without our permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Wednesday 23rd September, 2020.