Joint Expeditionary Force departs Gibraltar for Mediterranean deployment

Royal Navy’s amphibious flagship HMS Bulwark joined RFA Mounts Bay and MV Eddystone in Gibraltar in what was the first port visit of the Royal Navy’s inaugural Joint Expeditionary Force Task Group deployment.

The group departed the British overseas territory September 26 and will be joined, at various points during the next few months, by destroyers and frigates from the British, US and French navies.

By deploying a major task group to the Mediterranean and Middle East, the Royal Navy wants to demonstrate its ability to deploy effective and combat-capable maritime forces anywhere in the world.

Captain James Parkin, the Captain of HMS Bulwark said: “My sailors and Royal Marines have put everything into making sure that Bulwark was ready to deploy last week as the commodore’s flagship, and as a warship in her own right, and I am hugely proud of all the work they have put in to get us to this stage.

“I am confident that my people and my ship are ready to meet any challenge thrown at us in what promises to be a demanding and exciting programme.”

Commanded by Commodore Andrew Burns, the task group also consists of Plymouth-based helicopter carrier HMS Ocean with the lead Commando Group, from 42 Commando Royal Marines, also from Plymouth and Chinook, Merlin and Apache attack helicopters on board.