The Royal Navy will have a total of 13 vessels and one of its four Vanguard-class submarines on deployment overseas and in home waters over the holiday season, according to the Royal Navy.
What is missing from the list of deployed assets are any major warships as no frigates or destroyers are currently underway.
The absence of major surface combatants overseas was described as unprecedented and an indicator of a hollowing out of UK defense by Vice-Admiral John McAnally, national president of the Royal Naval Association.
The Royal Navy however noted that more than 4,000 sailors and Royal Marines are deployed across the globe or on heightened readiness to respond to anything that may come their way.
They all end the year with a big ‘thank you’ from the man in charge of the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones.
He said: “I am immensely proud of the efforts of the entire Naval Service as we enter this Christmas period. It has been a relentlessly busy year as the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary have reached all corners of the globe to deliver humanitarian aid, protect the UK’s economic interests, and keep Britain and her people safe.
Minehunters HMS Middleton, HMS Bangor, HMS Ledbury, and HMS Blyth plus their support ships RFA Cardigan Bay and RFA Fort Rosalie, are on maritime security patrols east of Suez.
RFA Mounts Bay on patrol in the Caribbean, having been part of the successful mission to render aid to the stricken region after a devastating hurricane earlier this year.
In the South Atlantic, offshore patrol vessel HMS Clyde is providing support and reassurance to British citizens overseas while HMS Protector has been taking part in the search mission to find the missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan and next will be surveying uncharted waters around the South Atlantic.
Fast patrol boats HMS Sabre and HMS Scimitar are protecting Gibraltar and HMS Enterprise is acting as the flagship of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2.
HMS Echo working as part of counter migration operations in the Aegean.
One Type 23 frigate, HMS St Albans, is on standby to conduct Fleet Ready Escort duties if required and RFA Wave Knight is on standby to support the Fleet Ready Escort.
Royal Navy frigates and destroyers are set to start deploying at the start of 2018.
Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan will be the first ship to deploy in 2018, sailing early in the new year to first lead a NATO task group and then safeguard the UK’s economic interests in the Gulf.
Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland will become the first British warship in four years to head to the Far East and Pacific Rim, leaving Plymouth in early January. Later in the year her sister ship, HMS Argyll, will also head to the region.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is set to resume her trials and later in the year, F-35B Lightning II jets will have flown on and off the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier for the first time. Around the same time, her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales is due to welcome her first ship’s company aboard.