A Royal Naval patrol vessel has returned to its home base in Portsmouth for the final time after spending 12 years on patrol around the Falkland Islands. Sailors and crew of the HMS Clyde have taken part in a decommissioning ceremony for the 13-year-old vessel before it is turned back over the BAE Systems for its future life in Brazil.
Family and friends of the 40-strong crew lined the quayside at Portsmouth Naval Base to welcome home their loved ones following their deployment on board Clyde.
Commander Simon Pressdee, commanding officer of the Fishery Protection Squadron, said: 'It has been a real privilege to welcome HMS Clyde home today after what has been the longest Royal Navy deployment in modern times, achieving over 12 years forward-deployed to the South Atlantic.
'During the period, over 800 members of the squadron have served in HMS Clyde, experiencing the southern oceans for over six months at a time, providing many of them with unique and special memories from an outstanding part of the planet.
'Her decommissioning this afternoon will remember all those who have served in her before we hand over this workhorse of the fleet back to BAE Systems who have carefully supported her throughout her deployment.'
Offshore patrol vessel HMS Clyde was launched in 2006. It has a crew of 36, and is armed with a 30 mm DS30B gun, two mini-guns, five general purpose machine guns. Also holds a Merlin-capable flight deck. Top speed is 21 knots with a range of 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km)
The HMS Clyde was the first ship to be entirely built at Portsmouth Naval base for 40 years upon its completion. The Clyde was designed and built by BAE Systems and is leased and operated by the Royal Navy, while the company provides maintenance and logistical support to the vessel.
Her only time off station during this period was in 2017, when she was dry docked in South Africa for maintenance.
The return trip to Portsmouth marks the end of the Navy's lease, as it will soon be returned back to BAE systems to be stripped of personal items, and then sold on to the Brazilian navy.
In January 2011, the government of Brazil denied HMS Clyde access to Rio de Janeiro in solidarity with Argentine claims over the Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute, as Uruguay had done with HMS Gloucester the previous September.
Clyde's role patrolling the Falklands will be taken over by HMS Forth, which is currently en route through the Atlantic Ocean.
The Forth was commissioned into the Royal Navy in April 2018, following a ceremony at Portsmouth. However in June 2018 it was announced would be entering dry dock for major rectification work likely to take more than three months.
A Navy spokesman said: 'Some of the current crew have been with the ship for about nine months but most for about six months, the standard tour length before handing over to the relief crew'