The warship HMS Newcastle sets sail for a five-month deployment combining security patrols and humanitarian missions.
The Type 42 destroyer leaves her Portsmouth home to carry out patrols off the Falkland Islands, but on her way she visits several West African countries to carry out community aid projects.
She first visits Sierra Leone and then heads for Ghana and Nigeria. In each country the ship's 250 crew will get involved in building projects at schools, painting and refurbishing the buildings as well as handing out text books and toys which have been donated by charities and individuals in the UK.
Refurbishing medical centres are also likely to feature in their work schedule.
Lieutenant Commander David Prentice, the ship's second in command, said: "We will be spending about four to six weeks in the African countries and although we have a rough idea of the projects we will be getting involved with, nothing is definite until we get there.
"But the Royal Navy has already built up a close relationship with the countries we are visiting and they are all looking forward to hosting HMS Newcastle."
On completing the African leg of the tour, Newcastle sails south for two months in the south Atlantic. In between patrols the ship's company will make several 'welfare visits' to the Falkland Islands, mixing with the locals and possibly carrying out small community projects.
The tour will be rounded off with six weeks in the Caribbean for anti-drug smuggling operations.
Source: Navy News