UK: HMS Argyll to Be Back Home Today
The Royal Naval frigate HMS Argyll is due to return to the South West on Thursday (12 Sept) after a successful maritime policing patrol. HMS Argyll’s deployment has seen the ship conduct a range of operations in the seas around Africa, the Falklands, the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean.
This scope of operations, from disrupting the illegal supply of $116m of narcotics, to saving a life, working with partner nations in Africa, to reassurance in the Falkland Islands has displayed the huge variety of tasks a Royal Navy warship can undertake.
HMS Argyll’s Commanding Officer, Commander Tim Neild, said:
“Argyll’s deployment stands as an exemplar in the defence community as to the flexibility and agility represented by a UK frigate on operations.
“We have conducted a vast range of tasking across half the globe.
“The capacity we built in Africa, the re-assurance and training in the South Atlantic and the 116 million US Dollars worth of drugs we helped stop in Central America all show the value for money that a most capable warship, such as HMS Argyll, provides.
“I am immensely proud of my ‘Band of Brothers’ for their commitment and professionalism throughout.”
The Type 23 frigate has travelled 35,000 nautical miles during her deployment visiting 16 countries across eight time zones. She has spent 206 days away in weather ranging from equatorial Africa and the Caribbean to the iceberg-filled South Atlantic.
Following departure in February the ship’s initial programme took in a successful period of regional engagement from Lisbon to Cape Verde, throughout West Africa, culminating in Simon’s Town, South Africa, in May.
This period included counter narcotics operations with Cape Verde Coast Guard and civil police embarked.
Throughout West Africa, the ship delivered a comprehensive maritime security training programme to 300 personnel in Atlantic nations.
The ship was also the centrepiece to two maritime security conferences hosted to raise awareness and dialogue for key players in the region.
The ship also saved the life of a Japanese fisherman who had been gravely injured in an accident at sea.
Following adventurous training in Simon’s Town, South Africa, HMS Argyll crossed the South Atlantic to South Georgia and the Falklands where leadership training was undertaken with lectures, briefings and challenges including the planning and execution of a trek across South Georgia following in the footsteps of Sir Earnest Shackleton.
HMS Argyll delivered an impressive capability across the region earning the praise of the Commander of British Forces, Air Commodore La Forte.
Highlights included; supporting the Liberation Day Commemorations in Port Stanley, visiting remote settlements across the Falkland Islands and offering assistance to islanders.
The ship conducted amphibious operations as part of a land exercise, providing support to a company from 3 Parachute Regiment on board.
Following a stormy passage around Cape Horn, HMS Argyll shifted focus in the Pacific back to counter narcotics operations with a United States Coast Guard detachment embarked.
The ship’s notable success was the disruption of six tonnes of cocaine and conducted a search and rescue using the ship’s helicopter for a lost sailing yacht.
The period concluded with the ship successfully interdicting and detaining a drug smuggling fast boat and its crew as the ship left the Panama Canal for the Caribbean.
The United States Director of the Joint Inter Agency Task Force Admiral Mehling, was effusive in his praise for Argyll during her secondment, heralding her participation as a resounding success and presenting the ship with a ‘Snowflake Burgee’ to mark their achievements.
Following engagement activity in Key West and Bermuda, HMS Argyll invited families on board to enjoy a day at sea to experience life at sea and a chance for the ship to thank families for their support while deployed. Families joined the crew in belatedly toasting the birth of Prince George.
Argyll will commence a period of leave, maintenance and training on her return to Devonport prior to deploying again next year.
Press Release, September 12, 2013; Image: Royal Navy