Politicians from across Europe have visited HMS Monmouth to see how the Black Duke is helping to keep the waters of the Gulf safe.
The Plymouth-based frigate, approaching the half-way point in her deployment to the Gulf, was visited by 25 MPs from 11 countries who serve on the Transatlantic Defence and Security Co-operation Sub-Committee, led by Briton Sir John Stanley, MP for Tonbridge and Malling.
The delegates’ visit to the Type 23 frigate in Doha, Qatar, was part of an on-going mission to examine the contribution of the Armed Forces of NATO countries to the security and stability of the region – and to understand current military operations.
This gave the Black Duke’s ship’s company an excellent opportunity to give their first-hand experience of the ways in which she has provided assurance, assistance and deterrence whilst patrolling the busy sea lanes of the Gulf, in support of the Combined Maritime Forces.
Lt Pete Hovington, Monmouth’s deputy marine engineer officer, said:
“This visit has provided a great opportunity to bring to life the interface between politicians and the assets which are charged to deliver an overall military effect.”
The UK is committed to a permanent presence in the Gulf to ensure freedom of navigation in international waters.
The Royal Navy has been operating in this area for more than 30 years, with HMS Monmouth herself conducting four deployments to the region over the past five years.
These missions protect not only UK interests but also those of the wider international community, and play a key role in restricting the illegal trafficking of drugs and weapons as well as other illicit activity.
Before visiting Monmouth, the delegates visited HMS Atherstone, Ramsey and Shoreham, three of the four British minehunters based in Bahrain.
In various guises and incarnations, the RN has maintained a permanent minehunter presence in the Gulf for more than six years.
Naval Today Staff, February 5, 2013; Image: Royal Navy