Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) at HMS King Alfred
With her long-held love of the sea and marine sports, experienced sailor Alice Moore was always destined to have a career that matched an ambition to learn more about the oceans that she studied during her Geography with Oceanography degree at the University of Southampton.
In early 2014, she will realise one of her career goals by joining the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean when she joins the United Kingdom’s Maritime Trade Operations HQ in their Dubai-based operational hub providing advice to Merchant shipping transiting the vulnerable Middle East and Indian Ocean region.
It was not entirely unexpected that Alice would be drawn to the Royal Navy as an early career choice, especially given her active membership of the Combined Cadet Forces (CCF) during schooling at King’s College, Taunton, where she rose to be Head of Unit as Cadet Coxswain, further qualifying as a RYA Senior Instructor and teaching many young cadets sailing skills at both the RN Sailing Centre in Portsmouth and at Jupiter Point, the Navy’s sailing training facility at HMS Raleigh.
However, not ready to join the Royal Navy full time, Alice decided to broaden her options and seek experience across the maritime industry. Instead, she signed up to the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) at HMS King Alfred in Portsmouth to take advantage of professional seamanship, leadership and management training, while seeking opportunities to support the regular Royal Navy on duties in her specialist branch role.
A perfectly complementary civilian career – mutually benefiting both the Royal Navy and the MCA.
In tandem with her part-time and weekend training in the Maritime Trade Operations specialisation of the RNR, Alice’s full-time civilian occupation perfectly complements her military career.
Joining the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in 2011, Alice spent many long shifts learning the duties of a Coastguard Watch Assistant at Lee-on-Solent, responding to Maydays, answering 999 calls, and dealing with various maritime incidents, before moving on to take up further tasking at the MCA HQ in Southampton.
The MCA’s Chief Executive Sir Alan Massey recently awarded Alice with a Maritime Search and Rescue (Foundation) certificate, which is an external accreditation, a customised award from the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
Declaring his unequivocal backing for the Agency’s support of the Reserve Forces, Sir Alan said: “We are delighted to support Alice in her role as a Royal Naval Reservist.
“We recognise the value that people who volunteer as Reservists with the forces can bring to our workplace.
“Alice has a wide range of transferable skills and qualities – including decision-making, team working, leadership and communication – which mutually benefit both the Royal Navy and the MCA. I have had the privilege of personally witnessing this from both sides of the fence – and it works superbly well.
“The experience she gains in dealing with a diverse range of people from all backgrounds, nationalities and cultures is also transferable, benefiting both her role as a Reservist and work at the MCA.”
The MCA further supports their Reservists by offering up to 10 days’ special paid leave for them to undertake annual training. It also provides flexible working opportunities, where appropriate, to assist Reservists with their operational commitments.
Generous support realises vital role – 2012 Operation Olympics
Generous support from the MCA was vital when Alice volunteered to take part in Naval duties following the urgent call for military personnel to support Operation Olympics – London 2012, where she went on to carry out ceremonial duties in the flag-raising party at the International Olympic medal awards ceremonies. An experience that Alice will not forget, especially when she travelled to the Olympic Sailing Village in Weymouth and Portland to take part in the memorable medal awards ceremony as a Gold medal was presented to Olympic sailing champion Sir Ben Ainslie and seeing some of her sailing heroes up close and personal.
A competitive sailor herself, Alice has represented the Naval Service in
Inter-service Championships sailing in the Laser 2000 class. Highly competitive at University, she won plenty of glassware to grace the trophy cabinet back at home.
Back in her day job at the MCA, Alice’s duties over the course of a week range across a wide field of administrative responsibilities. Her tasks include processing maritime consents, dealing with Civil Liability Certificates and recording Dangerous goods refusal notices. She also prepares NAVTEX invoices, working closely with the UKHO. Alice maintains Port State Control inspection reports (that have been carried our on foreign flagged vessels that are operating in UK waters) received from MCA Marine Offices, and ensures accuracy of data received from Port Authorities regarding vessel movements before uploading this data to European Maritime Safety Agency’s (EMSA) THETIS database.
All of the skills and the business experience that she brings to her day job at the MCA are readily transferable to her specialist branch in the RNR. An RNR MTO specialist needs a strong understanding of the merchant fleet and its commercial business priorities and risks. International shipping travels across the globe under flags of many countries, bringing vital energy supplies and goods to the UK and exporting trade across the world.
Alice will bring this knowledge and experience when she joins the UK’s Maritime Trade Operational HQ in Dubai in January 2014 when she is mobilised for a second period of operational duty with the Royal Navy Reserve supporting the UK’s Maritime Command Centre based in Bahrain.
Preparing to deploy – realistic and useful training
The UKMTO provides an essential communications link and keeps a watching brief on commercial shipping passing through the important but critically vulnerable sea lanes across the Red Sea, Gulf region and Somali basin of the Indian Ocean, where piracy attacks and criminal activity have been common in recent years.
The cooperation between International Shipping and the military in the maritime domain has been one of the great success stories of the 20th century with organisations and big shipping corporations being mutually supportive, pooling resources and intelligence to protect the safety of the maritime domain.
The recently released Hollywood film Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks as a merchant ship Captain seized by pirates, gives a stark indication of what may happen if the alert military monitoring stance in the region was to lapse into complacency against the threat of piracy.
Alice is delighted that she will be able to put her knowledge to good use on this important deployment and has been taking part in a series of training exercises to hone her military capabilities for this domain. She was a recent participant in a National MTO exercise called Cambrian Trader in Milford Haven, one of the UK’s most important commercial ports. The maritime exercise prepares members of the MTO specialisation to take operational control of the security of merchant shipping, learn about boarding operations and briefings to ships, passing on vital information and cooperating with other agencies including Border Control. The MTO ratings learned about conducting Rapid Environmental Assessments and briefing on a rapidly changing environment in a transition to conflict scenario.
“We spent a week at HMS Collingwood practicing the theory, policy and understanding the scenario before relocating to an Army camp, near Penally, joining up with both AWNIS and NCAGS MTO specialists in the port to apply the practical element of the training which was really very realistic and useful. I realise that it’s going to be challenging abroad on operations – in a tropical climate and facing potential language barriers amongst the very experienced Master Mariners we will come across, but I am becoming knowledgeable and well aware of all the issues that they can face. As long as I can give a good briefing and help the crews on their way safely I will be very pleased to be part of this operation.”
When Alice returns from the deployment, she will look forward to picking up her career in the MCA and has an ambition to progress to become a Commissioned RNR Officer. She said: “I’ll feel ready to confidently start my Junior Officer training programme, study for my Admiralty Interview Board and hopefully one day become an MTO Officer in the Reserves specialising in Allied Worldwide Navigation and Information Systems. Some time in the future, I’d really like to work for the Hydrographic Office in Taunton.”
Alice is well supported in both of her careers by her Royal Naval Officer partner Richard, who is currently serving as the Deputy Logistics Officer on HMS Diamond, one of the Royal Navy’s advanced Air Defence Destroyers. When they get some precious time together the pair enjoy renovating a barn in Somerset that they are hoping will become their new home and driving miniature steam trains.
For more details, or to register to attend, call 08456 00 32 22, search for ‘navy reserves’ on the web, or visit www.royalnavy.mod.uk/navyreserves.