The Royal Navy frigate HMS Sutherland, which saw action in the Libya conflict, is in London after sailing up the Thames to London for the start of a five-day visit.
The Type 23 frigate, which is affiliated to the Honourable Company of Master Mariners – a Royal Livery Company of London is berthed alongside HMS Belfast.
The ship’s captain Commander Roger Readwin said: “Sutherland is here to highlight the flexibility of the Royal Navy and my team look forward to recounting the busy year we have had. It is an honour to be alongside HMS Belfast 40 years after she was opened to the public and during the annual Naval Battle of Trafalgar celebrations”
Known as the ‘Fighting Clan’, HMS Sutherland has returned home after serving on the frontline in Libya alongside coalition forces. In the Mediterranean the ship conducted boarding operations and provided naval gunfire in support of activity ashore plus maritime security patrols.
The frigate deployed at short notice in April to take up the role as a Royal Navy warship within the Response Force Task Group off the Libyan coast. Since its return, the ship has played a lead role in Exercise Joint Warrior, a bi-annual international naval warfare exercise off the north west coast of Scotland.
Although not open to the public during her time in London, HMS Sutherland has been hosting senior government, military and civic VIPs at formal receptions on board, and staged a capability demonstration.
Commander Readwin, visited the Mayor of Southwark, while a larger group of the ship’s company attended a Trafalgar Night mess dinner on board the Master Mariners’ Grimsby Class sloop, the HQS Wellington. Powerful and versatile with the capability to operate anywhere in the world, the Type 23 frigate is the mainstay of the modern surface fleet. The effectiveness of these ships is enhanced by their stealth design, which significantly reduces their radar signature and enables her to search for submarines using her state of the art sonar systems.
In addition to the war fighting roles described above, the ship is trained to conduct a wide range of other tasks. These include embargo operations using boarding teams inserted from the ship’s boats or helicopter, disaster relief work and surveillance operations.
The present HMS Sutherland is the third to bear the name and has seen service all over the world, from the frozen seas of both the Arctic and the South Atlantic to the tropical heat of the Caribbean and the Far East.
The ship was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders Limited on the Clyde and was launched in 1996 by Lady Christina Walmsley. The ship completed a major refit in 2009 which provided a significant uplift in her capability to make her one of the most modern frigates in the world.