Plymouth-based warship HMS Monmouth is on her way home after handing over her Gulf Patrol duties to HMS Dragon in typical naval fashion.
The two Welsh-affiliated warships, Type 23 frigate HMS Monmouth and Type 45 Destroyer HMS Dragon, met up in the warm waters of the Gulf of Aden to conduct a formal handover of Maritime Security Patrol responsibilities for the Gulf region, the northern Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.
After a series of briefings and transfer of stores, the end of the handover was marked by a close sail past, complete with jets of water from each Ship’s fire hoses, lending a celebratory feel to their parting as the pair sailed off to their respective duties.
HMS Dragon is at the start of her first operational deployment, and is the third T45 destroyer to take on the Gulf duty.
No stranger to the region, HMS Monmouth has conducted security patrols of the Gulf of Aden every year since 2009. She now returns home after seven months, having last seen UK waters back in October.
Known affectionately as the ‘Black Duke’, Monmouth will arrive back in Plymouth just days before she celebrates her 20th year of commission.
Commenting on a job well done, Monmouth’s Commanding Officer Commander Gordon Ruddock said: “The value of the past few months has been to assure our friends in the region of the United Kingdom’s commitment to ensuring peace and stability in the long term.”
Both ships maintain strong Welsh links, with Dragon last visiting Cardiff in February 2012 and Monmouth due to send representatives to Armed Forces day celebrations in the capital on 29 June 2013.
The Plymouth-based warship has been undertaking a seven-month deployment to the Gulf region as part of an international effort to deter piracy and smuggling, taking her turn to provide a standing commitment to Maritime security in the region which the Royal Navy has maintained for over 30 years.