SAILING into the home of the Thai navy, HMS Daring has added another first to her list of achievements.
The last few months have seen a deployment full of firsts for HMS Daring’s sailors – they are the first to take a Type 45 destroyer on a global tour, and have experienced the ship’s first visits to the Pacific, Australia, Singapore, China, and Vietnam.
Now they have become the first Royal Navy ship in five years to visit Thailand, with a visit to Sattahip.
The Portsmouth-based destroyer was greeted with a traditional welcoming ceremony, supported by the Royal Thai Navy band.
They have now embarked on a busy series of exchanges with the Thai navy, an evening reception, an industry day, a visit from the Royal British Legion in Thailand, and a visit to mark National Children’s Day.
Commander Angus Essenhigh is the commanding officer of HMS Daring.
He said: ‘As Daring enters the new year, the ship’s company is excited to start it with this visit to Thailand.
‘We are delighted to be able to build on historic and current links between the Royal Thai Navy and the Royal Navy with numerous exchanges concluding with an exercise at sea.
‘The hosting of a tour to mark National Children’s Day will highlight the varied roles of a navy, including peacekeeping and humanitarian relief to a younger generation.’
The Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, is expected to join HMS Daring at some stage during the ship’s engagement with Thailand.
The Royal Navy says the visit shows support for Thailand’s expressed ambition to modernise their military and become more involved with international partners.
HMS Daring is due to return to Portsmouth in the spring. She spent Christmas in Singapore while the sailors enjoyed well-earned rest after helping with humanitarian aid in the Philippines.
They delivered water, shelter kits, medical aid, and sanitation kits to remote areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan, before handing over to HMS Illustrious. The helicopter carrier returned to Portsmouth last week.
HMS Daring has so far clocked up 30,000 miles carrying out regional visits and military exercises in the Atlantic, the Western Seaboard of the USA, the Pacific, Australasia, the South China Sea, and the Philippines.
All pictures by L(Phot) Keith Morgan