Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose has set sail for a six-and-a-half month deployment to the Falkland Islands and other South Atlantic Islands to maintain a continuous presence protecting British interests.
Leaving her home port of HM Naval Base Devonport, Plymouth, on Monday 24 October 2011, HMS Montrose passed Devil's Point to the sound of a lone piper, providing a strong hint of the ship's close links with Scotland.
A large number of families and friends braved the adverse weather conditions to wave goodbye to their loved ones, while the crew lined the decks in the driving rain to bid them farewell.
Once clear of Plymouth Sound, HMS Montrose set a southerly course to cover 8,000-plus nautical miles (14,800km) to arrive mid-November 2011.
With a number of port visits en route, there will be the chance to replenish the ship and crew and train and interact with foreign navies and authorities, further cementing the UK's partnerships with her allies.
This deployment marks a major milestone for HMS Montrose and her crew, having returned from a successful counter-piracy deployment ten months ago, and following on from an intensive period of operational sea training and extensive maintenance.
The busy programme over the preceding months has prepared the ship and crew for the deployment, making sure they are ready in all respects for whatever they may face.
The ship's Commanding Officer, Commander Jonathan Lett, said: As an island nation our prosperity and security is totally dependent upon our ability to access the sea.
Exactly a year ago Montrose was patrolling the key shipping routes in the Somali Basin and Horn of Africa, and in fact one of our most significant counter-piracy successes took place on this day last year.
Fast forward 12 months, and we are now ready do whatever is asked of us in the South Atlantic, providing a reassuring presence in the region and working hard to protect British interests.
This deployment has been eagerly anticipated for some time, and every member of my team is well prepared and very well trained for the potential challenges ahead.”
Commissioned by Lady Edith Rifkind in 1992, HMS Montrose is a Type 23 Duke Class frigate with a length of 133 metres and displacing over 4.000 tonnes.
She has a complement of 185 officers and ratings and is equipped with the latest weapons, sensors and communications systems, including the vertical-launch Sea Wolf missile system for close air defence, a 4.5-inch (114mm) gun, anti-submarine torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and a Lynx helicopter. (Defence News).-