HMS Monmouth -the frigate which has more battle honours than any other current ship in the Royal Navy – was due to sail past Penarth this afternoon – but has been unaccountably delayed and is now lying at anchor off Lavernock Point in total darkness.
The long grey ship could be seen from Penarth Pier and Penarth Esplanade – to the right of the islands as viewed from Penarth. It was expected that her lights should have been visible as darkness fell …which they weren’t .
This afternoon’s docking was to have been the first time HMS Monmouth – also known as the “The Black Duke” – had visited Cardiff for three years. No reason for the delay has been given. The Ministry of Defence has issued an announcement however saying that:-
“Due to external factors, HMS Monmouth has had to delay her arrival into Cardiff – she will no longer be open to visitors on Saturday. The rest of her programme is expected to continue. “
However it’s now far from certain when she will dock in Cardiff and no explanation has been given for the holdup or what the “external factors” are.
HMS Monmouth is a Type 23 frigate – not to be confused with the Royal Navy’s notorious Type 45 destroyers which have what the Navy calls “a major design flaw” in their intercoolers which can cause their diesel generators to trip out, leaving the destroyers without any electricity or means of propulsion.
The 12 Type 23s – including HMS Monmouth – however, also have a similar power system and are all due to have their power generators replaced – starting later his year . Each of the dozen ships will be equipped with four new Rolls Royce MTU 12V 4000 M53B diesel gensets, as part of the Royal Navy’s vessel “life extension” program.
HMS Monmouth was so late arriving today that she missed this afternoon’s high tide and will have to come in to dock at around 03:00 tomorrow (Saturday) morning. She is due to tie up alongside Britannia Quay in Cardiff Docks.
On Sunday the crew of Monmouth is due to take part in a formal military and civic ceremony after marching through the centre of Monmouth to mark the close links of the ship to her eponymous town.
Tomorrow morning the people of Monmouth and Monmouthshire were to have been invited on board between 10:00 and 14:00 for a rare chance for them to see ‘their own’ warship at first hand and meet the crew – but it appears this arrangement has had to be cancelled.