HMS Diamond called on Greece and Gibraltar in the final days of her maiden deployment. The Portsmouth-based destroyer will be the final RN vessel to return home in 2012, sailing into the Solent on Friday after a six-month stint in the Gulf.
The harbour of Athens was the penultimate port of call for HMS Diamond on her inaugural deployment as she paid a short visit to Greece after completing her Gulf mission.
After exiting the Suez Canal, the third of Britain’s six Type 45 destroyers – and the second to pass through the manmade waterway linking the Mediterranean with the Middle and Far Easts in 2012 – headed to Piraeus, port city of the Greek capital.
Upon arriving, the Portsmouth-based warship provided the setting for an official reception with Britain’s Ambassador to Greece, Dr David Landsman, and senior Greek military officers, led by the Deputy Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, and Hellenic Coast Guard officers under Rear Admiral Georgios Bouras.
They were given a tour of the air defence destroyer, as were some civic officials from Piraeus, representatives of the Greek defence industry, and defence, military and naval attachés from various nations.
They also witnessed a traditional Ceremonial Sunset with the lights of Piraeus providing an impressive backdrop.
This diplomatic scene-setter acted as a precursor to a visit by 30 officers, warrant officers and senior ratings of the Hellenic Navy for an in-depth look at what Diamond can do.
A series of briefings and demonstrations by the crew left the visitors in no doubt as to the effectiveness and efficiency of the destroyer, which is due home on Friday – the last Royal Navy warship to return from deployment in 2012.
She’s spent the past five months in the Gulf acting as one half of the UK’s permanent naval presence there (four Gulf-based minehunters comprise the other).
After Piraeus, Diamond hot-footed west through the Med, paying a whistle-stop visit to Gibraltar and is now turning for Portsmouth.
Naval Today Staff, December 18, 2012; Image: Royal Navy