The Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless arrived last week to the Falkland Islands in the last leg of its six month deployment in the South Atlantic, spending most of the time along the West African coast.
She is the first state of the art latest generation of British destroyers to visit South Africa and the Falkland Islands after having left Portsmouth last April 4, according to a report from the Royal Navy.
Speaking to the local radio station Commanding Officer Captain Will Warrnader said he was delighted HMS Dauntless had arrived in the Falklands and that the crew was very pleased also, following the lumpy crossing from Africa.
The Portsmouth-based warship spent three weeks at Cape Town allowing the ship’s company to “let off steam” with their first extended break since sailing back in April. It also allowed the ship’s 815 NAS Lynx Flight to decamp to Ysterplaat airbase where it worked with the South Africans, who also fly the agile helicopter.
Cape Town marked roughly the half-way point in Dauntless’ inaugural deployment and the end of her African adventure. On her way south from Portsmouth, D33 visited countries used to hosting RN vessels, such as Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Ghana, and ones which rarely see the White Ensign fluttering in their harbors: Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Angola.
HMS Dauntless’ time in African waters has had a twofold aim: to promote maritime security, especially in the troubled waters of the Gulf of Guinea, an area which has seen many incidences of criminal activity at sea in recent years; and to fly the flag for the UK, showcasing the RN, British industry, sport and culture.
In Luanda, Dauntless did both. The destroyer provided the impressive venue for a security conference held by the globally-respected think-tank Chatham.
“Opportunities like this are few and far between and the ability to get some of the key decision makers and people of influence together to discuss a common problem can never be underestimated,” said Capt Will Warrender.
“I hope in the long run it will be of immense strategic value to the wider region as a whole.
“One of the major reasons for our deployment here has been to promote the awareness of maritime security issues in the region; conferences like this definitely reinforce the points we have been making over our previous visits to ports throughout the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa.