Royal Navy’s minehunter ship HMS Atherstone returned to Portsmouth December 23 after more than three years of security operations in the Gulf.
The minehunter had been based in Bahrain for three years and seven months, with her current crew of 45 taking over in July this year.
She covered 51,220 nautical miles, conducted more than 8,630 hours of operational tasking and visited 12 countries across three continents.
HMS Atherstone sailed from Portsmouth in May 2012 to help ensure security and stability in an area that contains three of the world’s six maritime chokepoints.
Atherstone’s role included conducting route surveys, sea-bed clearance and mine clearance operations throughout the Gulf region to protect busy shipping lanes.
She also provided a visible naval presence in an area which supplies much of the UK’s oil and gas and therefore vital to the country’s economy.