Warship HMS Duncan is conducting NATO security patrols with Spanish and French ships in the Mediterranean.
The Type 45 destroyer left Cartagena this week to take part in Operation Sea Guardian – aimed at combating illegal activities and identifying and mitigating security threats, including terrorism-related, in the region.
Portsmouth-based HMS Duncan is working alongside NATO maritime patrol aircraft to monitor shipping, using her state-of-the-art sensors to scan a wide area.
During the operation, her boarding team has conducted friendly visits to private and commercial vessels sailing a long way out to sea. It was part of her routine maritime situational awareness survey of the Mediterranean Sea to gather information on patterns of life and identify any security concerns.
NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian works with the EU’s Operation Sophia in the areas of logistics and information sharing when operating in the central Mediterranean.
Embarked Royal Marines, from Juliet Company of 42 Commando, are trained to board and take control of boats as part of Duncan’s role in providing maritime security.
Lieutenant Max Chapman, from Juliet Company, said: “The Royal Marines boarding team offers the capability for the ship to conduct non-compliant boardings.
“My team are highly trained in the dangerous operations to gain access to and take control of vessels attempting to avoid interdiction.
“This is necessary to ensure the safe boardings of vessels suspected of conducting illegal smuggling or piracy operations.”
As part of her six-month deployment to the Mediterranean, HMS Duncan has worked with French and US aircraft carriers. She has also worked alongside the Italian navy providing air defence to a major exercise and taken part in a Cypriot humanitarian exercise.