Navy frigates deploy to Mediterranean and Gulf

HMS Richmond sails from Portsmouth Naval Base to conduct maritime security patrols in the Gulf
LA (Phot) Owen King]

January 19, 2009 -- Royal Navy frigates HMS St Albans and HMS Richmond both sailed from Portsmouth Naval Base this morning to conduct maritime security patrols in the Mediterranean and the Gulf respectively.

HMS St Albans will join a NATO Task Group in the Mediterranean and conduct maritime security patrols protecting busy shipping trade routes and providing a visible presence in the region.

Joining the NATO-led 'Operation Active Endeavour', the frigate will help monitor illegal maritime and air activity throughout the Mediterranean. Actively providing maritime and air patrolling and surveillance since October 2001, the NATO security operation has proved an effective deterrent to terrorist-related illegal activity, significantly improving security in the Mediterranean.

The NATO Task Group plans to conduct a wide range of activities including participation in Operation Active Endeavour and other joint/maritime exercises that will be conducted in the Mediterranean area.

HMS St Albans will also play a role as part of the NATO Response Force (NRF) providing an immediately available capability to be deployed anywhere that NATO decides there is a mission for the NRF. The ship will also have a varied port visit programme, highlights among the many port visits will be visits to Majorca, Italy and Egypt.

HMS St Albans leaves Portsmouth to join a NATO Task Group in the Mediterranean
[Picture: LA (Phot) Owen King]

HMS Richmond deploys to the Gulf on Operation Telic as part of the UK's contribution to the international coalition of warships conducting maritime security in the region. The frigate will relieve her sister ship HMS Lancaster which will return to Portsmouth at the end of February following a six-month deployment.

Both warships will focus on selected maritime contacts of interest, tracking and monitoring suspect vessels to determine their operations. Vessels may be boarded by Royal Navy teams and full inspections of cargo, documentation and crew may be carried out. (edited

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