AN estimated 1,000 people welcomed HMS Dauntless back home to Portsmouth today.
The Type 45 destroyer docked at the city’s naval base at midday in front of emotional friends and family.
Under blazing sunshine, the ship’s crew were reunited with loved ones after sevenmonths circumnavigating the Atlantic Ocean.
Dauntless clocked up 30,000 miles on her maiden deployment, visiting 18 countries on her maiden deployment circumnavigating the Atlantic Ocean.
The ship carried out security patrols, counter piracy and counter drugs operations, and multinational exercises during seven months away.
She started in Portugal before visiting the Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Angola and South Africa.
Following a short routine patrol of the Falklands Islands she headed up to the Caribbean, visiting Columbia, and was on stand by to support potential humanitarian disaster relief operations during the peak of the hurricane season.
She spent time in the United States before heading home.
Commanding officer Captain Will Warrender said: ‘As Dauntless returns from her first operational deployment I am immensely proud of what my ship’s company has achieved.
‘The first Type 45 deployment to the South Atlantic provided the setting for an exceptionally diverse deployment. It demonstrated what can be achieved over a wide area by one ship operating alone and conducting a variety of operations and exercises.’
Nineteen-year-old able seaman warfare specialist Ryan Skipper, the youngest crew member, said: ‘Visiting so many different countries has been great.
‘We have been to some superb places and done so many different sorts of things, it has just been one massive experience from start to finish.
‘For my first trip away I think I have been really lucky with this one, seeing the world is one of the things that we all want to do whilst we’re in the Navy, so seeing four continents in just one go has been brilliant.’
HMS Dauntless is expected to arrive in Portsmouth at around 11.30am