Ships from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 left Devonport Naval Base on Monday after a routine visit.
The international group, currently comprising ships from the Royal Navy and the Spanish and Portuguese navies and a German auxiliary tanker berthed in HM Naval Base Plymouth last week.
SNMG 1 now sails to a European port after completing training and is also planning a Christmas break while remaining on short-notice for tasking.
The crews of HMS Duncan, FGS Rhoen (German Navy), NRP Alvares Cabral (Portugese Navy) and ESPS Almirante Juan de Borbon (flagship – Spanish Navy), met senior naval officers and Plymouth civic leaders with formal receptions in the city and on the flagship.
Under the command of Rear Admiral Jose Delgado (Spanish Navy) the group has patrolled North Atlantic and Baltic countries, including UK ports.
They conducted training and supported the Royal Navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training organisation off the South West coast as part of remaining at peak capability in order to respond at short notice to any urgent operational tasking.
One of those key tasks was the recent shadowing of the Russian carrier force for two weeks in the Atlantic and English Channel and beyond for two weeks.