Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose became the first Royal Navy frigate to forward-deploy to the Persian Gulf as she got underway from Plymouth for a three-year deployment to the Middle East.
While the Devonport-based warship will not return home for more than three years, her ship’s company will rotate in spring 2019.
This forward-deployment serves two purposes, the Royal Navy said – to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to maritime security in the Gulf while also ensuring those on board can enjoy more stability in their home lives.
“It’s been a really interesting challenge to get ready for this deployment and one that everyone on board has risen to,” says Commander Conor O’Neill, Montrose’s commanding officer.
“While crew rotations are nothing new to the Royal Navy, manning systems on this scale are something different and it’s presented a real chance to employ a bit of creativity and use our problem-solving skills.
“We’ve got an incredible deployment ahead of us – we will cross almost every ocean and sail around the world before we reach our destination. There is plenty to look forward to.”
Montrose deploys for defense engagement activity and maritime security operations prior to arriving in the Gulf. She will cross three oceans and visit four continents as she begins her global deployment, before ultimately arriving at the newly-opened UK Naval Support Facility in Bahrain.
A busy period of weapons testing and operational sea training has seen the ship’s company put through their paces over previous months to get ready for sailing.