Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose arrived in Bahrain on April 3 to start a three-year mission in the Persian Gulf state.
Montrose sailed into the UK’s new support facility in Bahrain after a six-month journey, which saw her cover 47,000-miles from her home in Plymouth.
From Bahrain, she will conduct regular patrols dealing with drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean, supporting counter-terrorism and counter-smuggling operations.
Instead of returning home to the UK after a six to nine-month deployment, Montrose is being stationed in Bahrain until 2022 to ensure a permanent presence and spare warships the lengthy passage to and from Britain, time which could be spent on patrol in the Middle East.
“Today marks a significant milestone for us – it is the end of our global voyage but the start of our period stationed in the Middle East,” said Commander Conor O’Neill, Montrose’s commanding officer.
“I am immensely proud of all that we have achieved during our voyage to Bahrain, from hosting royalty in Chile, deepening our relationships with allies, sharpening our war-fighting edge in exercises with the Japanese, to our success enforcing sanctions against North Korea.”
On her route to Bahrain, Montrose supported counter-drugs operations in the Caribbean, represented the UK at the 200th anniversary of the Chilean Navy, visited Easter Island at Christmas and Pitcairn Island, helped the international fight against plastics in the oceans by surveying Pacific islands, enjoyed visits to Auckland in New Zealand, Darwin in Australia, Singapore, Tokyo, Brunei and Colombo in Sri Lanka, and enforced UN sanctions against North Korea to prevent fuel smuggling;
The crew who brought the ship to Bahrain will shortly return to the UK, swapping places with another frigate crew from Plymouth.
They will take HMS Montrose to sea once more after she’s undergone a short period of maintenance following her six-month voyage out from Britain.