HMS Tamar, affiliated to Truro and Plymouth, has visited the remote British Dependency of Pitcairn island in the South Pacific, an isolated inhabited island that lies almost mid way between Auckland, New Zealand and Panama.

The group of islands consist of Pitcairn and the uninhabited islands of Henderson, Lucie and Reno, the only UK Overseas Territory in the Pacific Ocean.

The small population of around 50 are descended from the mutineers of HMS Bounty who settled on the island in 1789.

The two Offshore Patrol Vessels HMS Tamar and HMS Spey sailed from Falmouth in 2021 for a five year deployment to Indio-Pacific region.

They are acting as the eyes and ears of the Navy, working alongside Britain’s allies, carrying out security patrols to deal with drug-running, smuggling, terrorism and other illegal activities, joining in exercises with other navies and armed forces, and flying the flag for Global Britain.

No permanent home has been assigned to the Patrol Vessels. Instead they will make use of bases and ports in the Pacific region which best meets their needs and mission. Their patrol area embraces both the Indian and Pacific oceans, extending as far north as the Bering Sea and south to the foot of Tasmania and New Zealand.

On one of my trips the ship called at Pitcairn for a couple of hours to discharge some stores and timber into the island’s long boats. Other ships in our fleet sometimes carried the longboats to Henderson Island which lies 90 miles east of Pitcairn from where the Pitcairn islanders would cut down trees and then sail back to Pitcairn.

My lasting memory of Pitcairn was one misty morning on the 8-12 watch onboard the container ship ACT 4, picking up the island on the radar. The ship was on the PACE (Pacific America Container Express) run from Australian and New Zealand ports to the East coast of the USA.

On a tight schedule we steamed by at 21 knots, blowing the whistle, whilst the master talked on the radio to Pitcairn’s radio operator Tom Christian, another descendant of Fletcher Christian of Mutiny on the Bounty fame.