HMS KENT berthed in Gibraltar for the day on Good Friday to top up on supplies before continuing on her journey towards the Middle East where she will conduct operations as part of the Royal Navy’s long standing commitment to the region.
HMS Kent is one of the newest Type 23 frigates within the Royal Navy arsenal. Built by BAE Systems’ Scotstoun Shipyard on the Clyde, she was launched on 27 May 1998 by Princess Alexandra of Kent.
This deployment is Kent’s first since an extensive refit in 2011. Upgrades included a new sonar and medium-range gun which maintains her cutting-edge technology and flexibility to conduct a multitude of tasks such as anti-submarine, counter piracy, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions.
As they departed Portsmouth earlier this week HMS Kent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ben Ripley said:
“I am honoured to be commanding such a versatile ship as HMS Kent and with a crew which has worked so hard to bring her out of refit and get ready for this operational deployment.
“This type of deployment is what the ship is all about; deployed far from home, maintaining security of extremely important shipping routes and providing Britain with flexible capability.
“My ship’s company, is looking forward to the challenges of counter piracy operations coupled with seeing parts of the world they may not otherwise experience.”
HMS Kent will conduct a maritime security patrol on her way in and out of Gibraltar.
The Royal Navy’s only ocean survey vessel, the HMS Scott stopped in at Gibraltar this afternoon, in order to carry out a boat transfer. HMS Scott has been specially designed to carry the modern High Resolution Multi Beam Sonar System.
The swathe echo sounder is capable of collecting depth information over a strip of the seabed several kilometres wide and gives her the capability of surveying 150 km2 of ocean floor every hour. On arrival and exit HMS Scott will conduct a maritime security patrol.
HMS DRAGON will sailed into Gibraltar on Monday for a fleeting visit before heading off to the Middle East as part of the UK’s long term commitment.
She conducedt a maritime security patrol on her way into HM Naval Base and took the opportunity to stock up on supplies whilst here in Gibraltar.
As the fourth of the Navy’s six Type 45 destroyers she was commissioned into the Navy’s fleet in April last year. Since then the highly capable multi-role ship and her190 strong crew have undergone intensive sea trials and training off the UK coast.
This is HMS DRAGON’S maiden deployment and she will spend seven months on operations helping to keep the seas safe by preventing maritime terrorism, countering piracy, hunting drug runners and deterring human trafficking before returning to her base in Portsmouth.
On departure from the UK Commanding Officer Captain Iain Lower, said: “It is with immense pride that HMS Dragon sails from Portsmouth for her first operational deployment. Since leaving the builder’s yard in Scotstoun nearly two years ago and through intense combat system and propulsion trials and operational sea training our focus has been about this moment but we deploy with a real sense of excitement, anticipation and confidence in Dragon’s ability to meet the challenges ahead.”
Canadian frigate HMCS TORONTO arrived in Gibraltar for an overnight visit to stock up on fuel and supplies.
HMCS TORONTO left her base in Halifax a week ago and is on her way to the Arabian Sea to carry out a six month maritime security operation.
She has a crew of 225 personnel and a Sea King helicopter air detachment.
HMS SUTHERLAND and her Merlin Helicopter were in BGTW carrying out routine maritime security patrols. The Type 23 Frigate will be docked at HM Naval Base today to top up on fuel and supplies before heading back to Devonport following maritime security duties in the Indian Ocean.
HMS DIAMOND arrived in Gibraltar on Sunday for a short visit before heading back to the UK following a successful six month deployment to the Middle East.
The Type 45 Destroyer conduct maritime security patrols in BGTW as part of her visit and as the third of six Type 45 air defence destroyers HMS DIAMOND is one of the most sophisticated warships in the world.
Her primary function is to protect a task group of friendly ships from aircraft and missile attack, but she is able to perform all manner of war fighting roles as well as providing low level maritime security and assisting in humanitarian efforts as required.
HMS Diamond was launched on the Clyde by her sponsor, Lady Johns, in November 2007; the ship arrived in Portsmouth in the autumn of 2010 and was commissioned in the spring of 2011.
The ship’s 200 strong company will be able to enjoy some well earned rest and recuperation whist in Gibraltar and there will be a Fathers and Sons reunion where some parents of serving personnel embark from Gibraltar for the passage back to the UK.
Minehunter HMS Blyth sailed into Gibraltar on Monday afternoon for a routine visit as it sails back home to Faslane in time for Christmas.
HMS Blyth has completed a six-month tour of duty leading a NATO force, in the Aegean, Marmara and Black Seas. Her Commanding Officer Lt Cdr Tim Davey said: “Blyth has acted as the command ship for the NATO group for almost five months. It is a testament to my team’s efforts that we have taken the challenges in our stride and performed well throughout the deployment. It has been a long journey since our Operational Sea Training in February and we are looking forward to being re-united with our families before Christmas.”
HMS BULWARK will come into Gibraltar for a few hours this morning to conduct a crew transfer before travelling onto Devonport later today. HMS BULWARK has been conducting successful training exercises as part of COUGAR 12 in the Mediterranean.
The Royal Navy flagship HMS Bulwark made a high profile visit to the Bay of Gibraltar sailing slowly through British waters as it carried out a crew transfer.
The vessel was on its way to the UK after a three-month deployment in the eastern Mediterranean as part of task force Cougar 12.
While the assault ship carried out is logistical operation in the bay, other members of the British task force slipped through the Strait of Gibraltar bound for Devonport.
They included the Royal Navy’s helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious, which sailed past with its aircraft clearly visible on deck.
The presence of the warships in and around British Gibraltar territorial waters had been scheduled for some time and came at the end of the Cougar 12 deployment.
But it also followed last week’s incursions by a Spanish warship into Gibraltar waters, an incident that led to a significant diplomatic spat.
A Trafalgar Class submarine was this morning spotted about 5 miles off Europa Point and it was heading West.
American submarine USS NEW HAMPSHIRE has arrived at HM Naval Base.
The scheduled port stop is to allow the 160 crew personnel to have some rest and recuperation for a few days.