HMS Diamond has taken her place among the international naval effort determined to stamp out criminal activity on the seas east of Suez.
The state-of-the-art destroyer has relieved her sister HMS Daring as the latest Royal Navy warship serving with the 26-nation Combined Maritime Forces, sailing in tandem with Australia’s HMAS Melbourne.
Pictures: LA(Phot) Gaz Weatherston, HMS Diamond
NORMALLY you’d have to sail about 12,000 miles to see Melbourne
HMS Diamond did it in half that.
Admittedly, HMAS Melbourne rather than the antipodean metropolis.
But it’s a start.
Indeed the link-up with the Adelaide-class frigate east of Suez was the perfect introduction for the Portsmouth-based destroyer to her new mission.
Diamond has now joined the Combined Maritime Forces – the partnership of more than two dozen navies committed to keeping the seas clear of all manner of nefarious activity (pirates, smugglers, drug-runners, people traffickers, terrorists) – which will oversee many of her activities for the next four or five months.
The Bahrain-based forces directs the work of three distinct task groups of around half a dozen warships each, operating from the head of the Gulf to the Red Sea in the west, shores of India and Pakistan in the east and Seychelles in the south – an area of some 2½ million square miles or more than eight times the size of the North Sea.
The ships allocated to those three task forces – 150 (counter-terrorism/maritime security), 151 (counter-piracy), 152 (maritime security in the Gulf) – typically operate as ‘lone wolves’, hundreds of miles away from other vessels assigned to the same force.
So the rare link-up between Diamond and Melbourne allowed for a series of drills, manoeuvres and the obligatory ‘photo exercise’ for the record.
Diamond has just relieved her older sister Daring on station east of Suez (D32 is making her way back to Portsmouth through the Med presently) as she knuckles down to her maiden deployment; she’s now engrossed with counter-terrorism and piracy patrols, bringing security and stability to the region.
“We have a vital role to play in keeping these sea lanes safe for international trade, not just for the UK but for the good of the wider global economy,” explained her Commanding Officer Cdr Ian Clarke.
“It is a massive and important task and we are looking forward to working with colleagues from 26 navies including Australia, Pakistan, South Korea and Thailand as well as our US and European partners.”
His ship and the 200 sailors, Lynx crew and Royal Marines aboard will continue their patrol of these waters until their expected return home in late December.