UK: HMS Westminster Hands Over Gulf Role

HMS Westminster Hands Over Gulf Role

She worked for half a year to protect Britain’s interests in the Middle East and Indian Ocean, but now that job lies with another ship.

HMS Westminster is on her way home having handed over to Devonport-based frigate HMS Sutherland.

During her time Westminster – known as The Capital Ship – has disrupted pirates, seized millions of pounds worth of heroin from smugglers and conducted security patrols in the Gulf.

She’s also paid goodwill visits from Aqaba in Jordan to Dar-es-Salam in Tanzania, and conducted numerous exercises with coalition and allied forces in the region.

Speaking about the tasking Westminster’s commanding officer, Captain Nick Hine said:

“I am tremendously proud of all that we have achieved.

“My fantastic Ship’s Company has risen to every challenge that has been laid before them and we have had a tangible effect in making the UK’s interests more secure as a result.”

Meanwhile HMS Sutherland sailed from Devonport Naval Base on July 5 after completing her operational training under Flag Officer Sea Training.

She picks up the mission from HMS Westminster and is also a highly versatile ship enhanced with a Merlin helicopter and Royal Marines Boarding Team.

Since deploying HMS Sutherland, known as “The Fighting Clan”, has been working hard conducting continuation training to ensure she is ready to deal with any scenario.

She carried out gunnery drills around Gibraltar and more recently the ship conducted her Operational Capability Confidence Check at the NATO range in Souda Bay, Crete prior to travelling through the Suez Canal.

Now East of Suez, the crew of the Fighting Clan is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.

Sutherland’s commanding officer, Commander Al Wilson, said:

“I intend Sutherland to continue the fantastic work that Westminster has undertaken over the last six months.

“We are fully prepared and ready for operations.”

HMS Westminster is due home to Portsmouth in mid August.

Naval Today Staff, August 1, 2012; Image: Royal Navy