HMS Dragon mission extended by a month over Syria crisis

HMS Dragon arrives back to Portsmouth '''Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (133207-14)
HMS Dragon arrives back to Portsmouth '''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (133207-14)

Engine woes end mission

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HMS Dragon’s maiden mission was extended by a month after she was diverted to protect UK military bases in Cyprus.

It came after the recent tensions in Syria.

The destroyer, which arrived home in Portsmouth yesterday, had been on maritime security and anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf when she was sent to Cyprus to provide air defence and air surveillance for warships in the area.

The extra task came after the ship’s company had spent many months in the heat of the Gulf, protecting vital shipping lanes.

Captain Iain Lower, the ship’s commanding officer, told The News: ‘The ship’s company can look back on a job very well done.

‘I am incredibly proud of each and everyone of them.

‘It has been a very successful maiden operation for HMS Dragon.

‘We fulfilled the mission and did what command asked us to do.

‘The ship has achieved everything that has been asked of her.’

Earlier this year, The News spent a week on board HMS Dragon in the Gulf as she conducted security patrols in the region.

Sailors were putting themselves, and their new ship, to the test in the hostile waters of the Gulf to protect some of the world’s most vital shipping lanes.

They constantly patrolled the seas, deterring criminal activity, reassuring traders, and honing their skills should they be called to action.

Capt Lower added: ‘It is a fact that 90 per cent of trade into the UK comes by sea.

‘That means if you are lucky enough in a month’s time to have 10 presents under your Christmas tree, nine of them came by sea.

‘A significant number of them will have come through the sea lanes we have been patrolling.’