UK: HMS Westminster Sails on Seven-Month Deployment

HMS Westminster Sails on Seven-Month Deployment

Britain’s ‘capital ship’ HMS Westminster sails on a seven-month deployment east of Suez “ready and up for it”. The frigate leaves Portsmouth on Monday to relieve her sister Somerset, which has spent the past half year keeping the sea lanes open and clamping down on illegal activity.

The frigate departs Portsmouth on Monday to relieve her sister, HMS Somerset, which has been away from home since the late summer of 2011 – and has scored some notable successes against pirates.

Westminster heads to the Middle East and Indian Ocean battle-hardened from her experiences during her most recent deployment.

Ten months ago, the ship sailed at very short notice during the opening days of the Libyan Civil War; she was called upon to support the UN Security Council’s embargo on arms to the Gaddafi regime and prevent the dictator’s navy sortie up the coast to bombard towns and civilians.

Since then the frigate has undergone a couple of months of rigorous pre-deployment training off Plymouth in some pretty challenging weather conditions as 2011 drew to a close.

Many of the ship’s company who deploy to the Middle East are still on board from the mission off Libya, including Operations Officer Lieutenant Commander Andy Brown. He said:

“We learnt a lot last year on our successful involvement in the Libyan operations and we will carry that experience forward to our next mission.

“The ship’s company are excited about the deployment ahead and we are all determined to make it a success.”

Westminster will be acting as part of the Royal Navy’s standing commitment in the Middle East, providing reassurance to the UK’s allies in the region, policing busy shipping lanes and carrying out maritime security and counter-piracy patrols.

Her Commanding Officer, Captain Nick Hine, said:

“It takes a tremendous amount of effort to get a complex and sophisticated warship ready for operations and I am extremely proud of my ship’s company for the work they have done in getting us to this point; but operations are what the Royal Navy is all about and we are itching to get going.

“We sail into a region of heightened tensions and great challenges and we are ready and up for it.”

If you want to wish the men and women of Westminster well, the ship will be passing Round Tower shortly after 11am on Monday.

Naval Today Staff , January 23, 2012; Image: royalnavy